We heard via dcist that WMATA is possibly looking at James Dougherty, who was awarded the National Safety Council’s Distinguished Service to Safety Award in 2009, to replace Alexa Dupigny-Samuels as Chief Safety Officer.
While a major focus is making sure that the tracks and equipment work properly (as it should be), we think the overall safety of the entire WMATA system needs to be addressed.
We talked to Patti, one of our board members, about the subject and this is what she had to say:
The Power of Context: Human behavior is sensitive to and strongly influenced by its environment. As Gladwell says, “Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur.” For example, “zero tolerance” efforts to combat minor crimes such as fare-beating and vandalism on the New York subway led to a decline in more violent crimes city-wide.
Patti goes on to say:
Maybe possible/current offenders wouldn’t be affected or wouldn’t feel a difference with more “internal” safety in WMATA. But maybe if things really changed inside of WMATA, the employees would feel an increased sense of responsibility, and would want to change their response to reported or sighted incidents of sexual harassment.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the theory of the Power of Context can be applied to improving the overall safety of WMATA and lead to a more positive response when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment on our public transportation?