ATLANTA - After a three rapes in four months around MARTA stops, the transit system is going the extra mile to help protect its customers. Their new safety campaign could include a free ride home from MARTA Police and already includes a whistle give away.
"The thing it that it works right," said regular MARTA Sofia Mendoza.
Mendoza said having the new whistle helps ease fears.
"Sometimes you need something handy. You never know who could be behind you besides you and want to harm you," said Mendoza.
This is why MARTA Police spent a couple of hours Friday evening at four stations handing out whistles and safety brochures.
MARTA's whistle giveaway follows three rapes in four months. Suspects were arrested for all the crimes including the most recent, 18-year-old DeAngelo Bryant, is being charged rape, kidnapping, assault and other charges.
MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham said the "Blow the Whistle on Sexual Assault Campaign" centers around riders becoming aware of their own safety. A brochure helps them with the finer points, the whistle is for emergencies.
"I just think that women and men and anybody that rides transit should walk anywhere they want to and feel safe," said Chief Dunham.
The chief advises people to attach whistles to key chains in case someone steals your belongings. Ben Taylor, who travels with luggage on MARTA agrees.
“I'm not as much worried about myself walking around and my luggage getting stolen, but I'd be more worried if it was my girlfriend or my mom and they were by themselves," said Ben Taylor.
That lone-vulnerable-passenger is the reason MARTA is offering a sort of danger hotline, just pick up the blue or white phone at MARTA stations for a direct link to their 911 center who'll send an officer.
"If you want someone to take you home then we will take you home. We're not Uber, but what we do want is for our customers to feel safe," said Chief Dunham.
Dunham said officers will give scared customers a ride home within reason, about a five-mile radius from a station. She also said riders can download the MARTA See and Say app and text an officer for help.