BART PD reports decline in crime rate for third straight month


BART PD reports decline in crime rate for third straight month

For the third consecutive month BART has seen a decline in its crime rate.  BART’s overall crime rate through March is down 21% compared with the same three months of 2019.  The drop includes a 30% decrease in violent crimes over that same period.  BART crime had already started to decline in the first two months of this year before ridership was impacted by the global pandemic.

Along with the recent decrease in ridership due to the coronavirus BART has seen a dramatic drop in crimes involving electronic devices.  Last month there were 36 thefts and robberies involving cellphones and laptops.  That compares with 117 such crimes in March of 2019.  From January through March of this year BART saw 108 cases of snatch-and-run electronic item thefts.  That total is down from 220 such cases for the same time last year, which is a drop of 51%.

The BART Police Department is rolling out a new deployment strategy in response to concerns about the potential spread of the coronavirus from both front-line BART employees and essential workers who are relying on the system.

BPD is now positioning sworn officers as well as non-sworn fare inspectors and community service officers in the paid areas of downtown San Francisco and downtown Oakland stations.  At the start of service BPD personnel are now deployed near the fare gates to deter unwanted behavior such as fare evasion.  This crime prevention strategy has been bolstered by the recent closure of some entrances at these stations, which makes it easier to focus resources on the remaining entry and exit points.

The new strategy not only maximizes the visible presence of officers but supports BART’s goal to maintain appropriate social distancing on trains by reducing the number of encounters between BPD and riders.

BPD Chief Ed Alvarez has made bolstering the visible presence of officers a priority since he was named permanent chief in January.  In the latest Quarterly Performance Report for the third quarter of Fiscal Year ’20 BPD exceeded its goal of at least 12% of riders in surveys reporting they’ve seen officers in the system.  It’s the first time BPD has topped its officer presence goal since last fiscal year.