Crime on BART goes up despite new ban on offenders
on September 19, 2013
A new law that gives BART Police the power to prohibit individuals from riding the transit system is not reducing the number of assaults committed in BART stations, according to BART’s Quarterly Service Performance Review.
The law, passed in May, gives BART Police the authority to hand out prohibition orders if a person harms an employee, steals, or gets cited for urinating in stations more than three times in 90 days. The ban is for 30 days and can be extended for up to a year, although the longest ban so far has been for 60 days.
Despite this, crimes and bike thefts on BART and in stations have gone up.
The cause, according to BART Police Lieutenant Tyrone Forte, is a bump in the number of riders since March, with an average of almost 400,000 riders compared to 375,000 earlier in the year.
“Unfortunately, like every city and county, we can’t catch everyone,” Forte said.
Although BART has cameras in stations, platforms, and parking lots, it is hard to track banned riders. When officers recognize someone who was banned trying to ride BART, they arrest them for trespassing.
So far, only two repeat offenders have been arrested for trespassing. Other banned offenders have either stayed off the trains or used BART without causing another incident.
According to the Quarterly Service Performance Review, BART has set a goal of two incidents per one million trips. The current rate is closer to 2.5 incidents.
With a force compromised of approximately 206 officers, BART Police have to cover 104 miles of track. “We’re spread out,” said Forte.
In Oakland, the ban has been used on individuals who have been accused of robbery, attempted kidnapping, drug sales, indecent exposure, and battery against station agents, riders, and police officers.
Since May, BART Police have issued 72 bans, 14 of which were issued in Oakland stations. So far, Fruitvale Station has had five bans, 12th Station three, 19th Station two, and Coliseum, Lake Merritt, Rockridge, and MacArthur Station have had one each.
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