(KRON) — Friday was a preview of what riders will start seeing on Monday when a team of 12 BART police officers will start walking the beat in pairs on BART platforms and the trains.
They will be primarily on patrol nights and weekend.
It’s part of of the newly appointed BART police chief’s plan to fight an uptick in crimes on the transportation system.
“We’re going to be deterrent and we’re going to increase the safety in our system,” Chief Ed Alvarez said.
In 2019, BART saw an 11-percent increase in crime overall from the year before and a 4-percent increase in violent crime. 59-percent of that violent crime is related to the theft of electronic devices.
On Friday, officers handed out flyers warning riders to protect their cell phones. Part of the new deployment strategy is to increase viability and engagement with riders especially between Powell Street and the Balboa Park stations, which has been a hotspot for the thefts.
The officers riding the rails are in addition to the 10 unarmed ambassadors approved by the BART board this week. Those staff members are scheduled to start patrolling trains starting next month.
“The 12 are putting out on Monday and the ambassador program that’s gonna give me 22 more bodies, 22 more eyes and ears that are going to increase our presence and safety in our system,” Alvarez said.
Riders said they are glad to see cops on board BART.
“It’ll make me feel definitely a lot safer on BART,” Darius Travella said. “Definitely going to help with like the homeless situation and aggressive panhandling and just people breaking the rules, playing loud music, all that stuff. I think it’ll make everybody feel a lot safer.”
The chief will also be looking at creating fixed posts at certain stations that show to have a high number of calls for service.
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