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PORT AUTHORITY REPORTS ON PLUMMETING CRIME AT PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL

 NEW YORK, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Port Authority Bus Terminal continues to become a safer facility, as reported crime there plummeted by 23 percent for the first six months of 1993. The drop in crime was announced today by Stanley Brezenoff, executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the operator of the midtown Manhattan terminal.
 There were 1,701 criminal complaints filed with Port Authority Police for the bus terminal between Jan. 1 and June 30, 512 fewer than in the same period last year, Mr. Brezenoff said. During that period, some 27 million passengers used the terminal. Among the crimes that decreased significantly were robberies by 39 percent, larcenies by 28 percent, assaults by 21 percent and pickpocketing by 12 percent, he said.
 "The bus terminal has become a much more secure place in the last year-and-a-half, thanks to the efforts of the Port Authority Police," Mr. Brezenoff noted. "Our police have weeded out many of the criminals who hid among the homeless population at the terminal. This was done primarily by getting a majority of the homeless to take advantage of social services available to them through our Operation Alternative program."
 Operation Alternative, instituted in December 1991, offers the truly needy an alternative to staying in the bus terminal by making a host of services available to them through two on-site social service providers under contract to the Port Authority. Those who violate the terminal's posted rules and who refuse these services are asked to leave the facility.
 "Once the numbers of homeless decreased," Mr. Brezenoff explained, "the criminals stood out. They were, in effect, driven out by the social programs we put into place. As a result, we saw an immediate and dramatic decline -- by over 25 percent -- in such crimes as robbery, assault and pickpocketing in 1992.
 "This, in turn, allowed our police to address other areas of concern at the terminal, such as prostitution, against which our police initiated 150 percent more complaints during 1992," Mr. Brezenoff said. "Because of the attention paid to prostitution last year, there is less of this type of activity taking place today. We're also seeing less of the ancillary types of crime that prostitution spawns, including robbery, pickpocketing and assault."
 Mr. Brezenoff also credited the elimination last year of widespread long-distance telephone "scamming" at the bus terminal as a contributor to the plunging crime rate. New technology installed last year in the bus terminal's pay telephones blocked access to international telephone numbers, which has put out of business scam artists who sell stolen telephone credit card numbers to "customers" wishing to make overseas calls.
 Charles Knox, director of public safety for the Port Authority, said that one of the keys to the success of the programs instituted at the bus terminal has been the success of the programs instituted at the bus terminal has been the sustained effort made by the police assigned there, under the command of Deputy Inspector Edward C. Forker.
 "Our officers at the bus terminal have done an outstanding job, and we're going to continue to work hard to make the bus terminal even safer," Mr. Knox said. "Police officers will remain highly visible throughout the buildings, and we will continually reallocate our resources as circumstances demand.
 "By reducing the numbers of more serious crimes being committed at the terminal," Mr. Knox explained, "the police now can concentrate more on quality-of-life issues that are raised by our patrons."
 The Port Authority Bus Terminal, opened in 1950 and expanded several times since, is the largest and busiest bus terminal in the United States, handling some 180,000 people each day. Two wings, the North and the South, encompass a four-square-block area in the heart of midtown Manhattan between Eighth and Ninth avenues and 40th and 42nd streets, just one block from Times Square. It is one of the most heavily patrolled areas in the world, with 150 members of the Port Authority Police assigned there.
 Three separate bus level, capable of loading 235 buses simultaneously, handled over two million short-, medium- and long- distance bus movements carrying more than 54.5 million passengers in 1992. The terminal providers direct and connecting bus travel between Manhattan and suburban New Jersey, as well as virtually every point in the Continental United States, Canada and Mexico.
 -0- 8/25/93
 /CONTACT: Mark Marchese, director of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 212-435-7777 (24 hours), or 201-961-6600, ext. 7777/


CO: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ST: New York, New Jersey IN: SU:

LG-SH -- NY026 -- 0309 08/25/93 11:44 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 25, 1993
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