Tension continues between T police and youths, survey says

March 16, 2012
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The Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) has completed a follow-up survey that, while showing some improvement, tension continues between MBTA Transit Police and urban youths.

“What the findings show is that while there has been some improvements in the last 18 months, we still have major problems in how Transit Police interact with urban teens in Boston,” Carla Poulos, manager of Organizing and Policy Initiatives at HSTF, said in a press release.

The Transit Police did not respond to a request for comment.

The first survey was conducted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania-based Gutierrez Consulting Partnership in May 2010, collecting data from 700 teen T riders. Last November, HSTF used the same consulting firm and sample size to conduct a second survey. HSTF presented the data at a March 13 press conference, after the Gazette’s deadline.

Fifty percent surveyed agreed with the statement, “Transit Police are skilled in communicating with teens,” a 25 percent improvement from 2010; 53 percent agreed with the statement, “Transit Police are successful in making teens feel safe while riding the T,” compared to 33 percent in 2010; 46 percent agreed with the statement, “Transit Police act in a respectful way towards teens,” up from 29 percent in 2010; and 76 percent stated they had not heard Transit Police use racially charged words.

“I don’t think the Transit Police will be receiving passing grades until the T keeps its promises and the community demands that the officers are trained properly and respect urban youth,” said Poulos.