Londoners’ safety on Overground trains has improved according to figures released by Transport for London.
Customer satisfaction with the Overground has fallen, however, despite an overall increase in happiness with all other TfL services.
The crime rate on the London Overground was around 5.6 reported crimes per million journeys from April to June 2015 – a figure which has decreased to roughly 5.1 in the same time this year and remains significantly lower than crime rates for the London Underground and bus network.
The London Overground network is the biggest line in inner London – and it’s ‘East London Line’, from Highbury & Islington to West Croydon, serves each of the ELL boroughs, providing links to Central and Greater London – meaning that travelling on the line is essential for many local residents.
Similarly, the DLR connects much of Lewisham and Tower Hamlets to each other and the City and the Tramlink network provides links from Croydon across all of South London.
The map below shows the Overground, DLR and Tramlink networks’ prevalence within the ELL boroughs.
The report also said that these transport networks as well as busses have seen an increase in reported wrong-doing on their services from around 7 per million passenger journeys to 7.6 on the bus network and from 3.9 to 4.2 on the DLR.
General customer complaints have also risen by 18 per cent on busses and 10 per cent on the DLR within the same time period – though customer satisfaction with the DLR is the highest of any TfL service at 89 percent.
TfL claim that the inflated crime statistics on the DLR and bus services show the increase in people reporting crimes due the British Transport Police’s ‘Project Guardian’ scheme – which aims to encourage people to report crimes that they witness on London transport.
“Increases in the recorded crime rate on London Underground, DLR and the bus network are primarily driven by rises in reported sexual and other violent offences and criminal damage.
“Project Guardian was launched in July 2013 to reduce unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in London – historically significantly under-reported.
“The rise in the number of recorded sexual offences was anticipated and is considered to be a positive result of Project Guardian.”
London Travel Watch spokesperson, Richard Freeston-Clough, says that whilst some crime is unavoidable, work being done to limit it is encouraging: “When you have large numbers of people congregating in stations there’s bound to be places where people could be targeted and crimes could take place.
“It’s about making sure you’re aware of the issues and putting plans in place to deal with them,” He told East London Lines.
“We could always do more but when services are changed or developed, safety and security need to be taken into account.
“We want people to be able to travel free of crime and the fear of crime and we hope that operators do things like have good lighting and staffing in stations – those sorts of things can help mitigate problems.
The British Transport Police said in a statement: “Reductions in crime rate have been achieved across the network and against a backdrop of rapidly rising passenger numbers.”
The BTP’s Chief Constable Paul Crowther OBE said: “Our role is to ensure that passengers and staff are not only kept safe and secure, but that they feel safe and secure, whatever time of day or night they are travelling on the network.”
According to the report, 966m journeys were made on TfL services from April to June 2016 – 545m of which were on busses, 43.7m were on the London Overground, 29.1m on the DLR and 7.1m on South London’s Tramlink network – the four most popular forms of public transportation in the ELL boroughs.
A previous TfL report of crime on London busses from April 2015 to April 2016 showed that Tower Hamlets is the 4th most improved London borough with a decrease of 8.3 per cent from the previous year.
The same report showed that crime on busses had decreased by 3.3 per cent in Croydon and had increased by 2.5 and 7.7 per cent in Hackney and Lewisham respectively.
Across the same period Hackney was the fifth highest in terms of crimes committed on busses.