Robberies and violent crime down on BART amid increase in felony arrests
New data indicates stepped up patrols and innovative deployment strategies are starting to have a positive impact, with crime stats showing a downward trend at BART. The latest numbers show the overall violent crime rate on BART through April is down 9% compared with the same period in 2017. A major factor in that is a 16% drop in the number of robberies.
A total of 137 violent crimes were reported on BART through April compared with 150 for the same period in 2017. There were 92 robberies reported through April compared with 110 at the same point last year. While overall violent crime is down, aggravated assaults increased from 34 through April of 2017 to 43 for the same time frame this year.
“The latest numbers show that progress is being made but we still have a lot of work to do,” said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas. “By using crime data to inform our deployment decisions and emphasizing the visible presence of our officers, we think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Arrests continue with increased police presence
Through April, BART police made 148 felony arrests and 410 misdemeanor arrests. That’s a 16.5% increase in felony arrests. BPD reported 127 felony arrest and 390 misdemeanor arrests through April of last year. 2017 was an active year for BPD as the agency saw a nearly 40% surge in arrests from the previous year.
Property crimes are also on the decline at BART. Through April, property crimes were down 2% compared with 2017. There were 907 property crimes reported on BART through April compared with 926 for the same time last year. Larceny and auto thefts are both down 3%.
BART is continuing to enforce its new proof-of-payment policy. A six-member team of Community Service Officers started issuing citations for fare evasion in early March. In just the first two months of the enforcement period, the team issued more than 1,000 citations.
Aggressive hiring campaign is paying off
“An important part of our safety plan going forward is to continue to hire more officers,” said Chief Rojas. “Last year was our best for hiring since 2013 and we’re looking forward to building on that recruitment success.”
The BART Police Department has hired 22 officers over the last 18 months during a time when police agencies across the Bay Area are facing recruitment challenges. BPD also has five officer candidates in police academies. The Department is hoping to fill 30 vacant officer positions and will continue with its aggressive recruitment strategy.
Keeping the system safe and improving the BART experience
In recent years BART has installed working surveillance cameras on board all trains. The images have proven very effective in identifying suspects, making arrest, and holding them accountable. BART also offers a way for riders to discretely send a message to BPD dispatch about criminal activity with the free BART Watch App. Police also issue Prohibition Orders to ban repeat offenders from the system for a period of time. Data shows 94% of those who are issued a prohibition order adhere to it.