SEPTA announces new safety plan, aims to address the city's vulnerable population

With increasing levels of crime on SEPTA platforms across Philadelphia, SEPTA released a new security plan that will not only focus on riders' safety, but also the safety of the city's vulnerable population, who SEPTA says often turn to their vehicles for shelter. 

According to SEPTA officials, the population of individuals experiencing homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues has increased over recent years. This prompted the creation of the SCOPE program in 2021, which ultimately connects these individuals with social services and provides a safe and clean transit system for employees and riders. 

"We are tackling some of the most difficult issues society faces, and we need the involvement of everyone in pursuing solutions," said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. "Our investment in SCOPE is critical to ensuring SEPTA can provide safe, secure, and reliable service that supports our city and region through the current recovery and for the long-term."

SCOPE, which stands for Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnership, and Engagement, is SEPTA’s nationally recognized, system-wide plan that harnesses every person and resource to be a part of the solution towards making SEPTA rail lines safe.


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SEPTA says Transit officers are working with outreach programs to connect people to community-based services, like housing and mental health care. Kenneth Divers, Director of Outreach Services for SEPTA, says the company wants to curb further safety issues in the future. 

"With SCOPE, we are working collaboratively to solve challenges that are upstream from SEPTA," said Divers. "We won’t stop until we’ve reached our goal: to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring."

In its first year of operation, SCOPE has expanded the number of social service outreach workers on the system from seven to more than 50. 

"SEPTA will continue to rely on its SCOPE strategy to ensure that its system is safe, clean, reliable and efficient," said SEPTA Chief Operating Officer Scott Sauer. "There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our riders, the vulnerable individuals on our system, and our 9,000-plus employees."

SEPTA says they have also increased cleaning schedules on its lines, and they created a new Outreach Services Department to help SCOPE address the homeless population. 

The SCOPE outreach program works in close coordination with the SEPTA Transit Police Department, which SEPTA says has increased patrols on trains and at stations in recent months.