Last month, BART announced it would start emergency staffing, increasing police presence at BART stations and on trains in an effort to improve BART safety.
Instead of one police office for every two or three stations, they're assigning about 20. BARTgeneral manager Grace Crunicanis also proposing enhanced security training, installing emergency call boxes and upgrading camera surveillance. BART currently has 4,000 working cameras throughout its system.
The safety plan comes after a series of attacks, including the fatal stabbing of Nia Wilson at Macarthur BART, a knife attack on Richmond BART, and others. A few days ago, a man pulled a woman off a San Leandro BART train, assuming she was on drugs. The man is now on psychiatric hold.
More police will, presumably, lower the crime rate and help riders feel safer. You can also take precautions to stay safe when riding BART.
• Download the freeBART Watch App. The app lets you send a private text to BART Police dispatch to report criminal or suspicious activity. You can also attach a picture and choose from a list of locations and categories to help BART police respond faster.
• Save the BART Police dispatch number in your phone-510-464-7000. If you call 911, CHP will have to transfer your call to BART Police dispatch, which slows down response.
• Take note of your train car number: it's located above the doors on the inside of each end of the train car.
• Secure or hold your phone, laptop, or purse tightly when waiting on a platform or near train car doors while on trains, especially as doors open. Better yet, keep phones and laptops tucked away when riding BART. Thieves can easily swipe a phone from your hand and run out the door.
• If someone does grab your phone, laptop or bag, don't risk your personal safety by chasing after the thief. It's not worth getting assaulted or shot.
• Stay aware of surroundings, especially while standing near stairs, escalators, train doors and anywhere suspects can make a quick exit.
• Don't nap on a BART train. You're a prime target for theft.
• If you're traveling alone and concerned about your safety, sit in the first car closest to the train operator.
• If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. Move to another car.
• Use purses and bags that zip closed. When you tightly secure your bags, you lessen your chance of getting pickpocketed.
To avoid injury on BART follow these tips:
• Watch your step on escalators and stairs.
• Do not step off the platform, cross the tracks or touch the electric third rail.
• Walk, don't run.
• Avoid wet or slippery areas. If it isn't marked with signs and/or cones, report the condition to the station agent.
• If you're carrying or walking a bike, use the stairs or elevator.
• On the platform, stay behind the yellow and black tiles.
• On the train, don't lean against the doors.
• Keep luggage, bikes and other belongings out of the walkways.
• Remember, no flammable liquids in BART stations or on the trains.
• If you have or witness a medical emergency, call the station agent using the white courtesy phone. If they're not available, call BART Police at 510-679-7000.
Despite alarming news reports, public transit is twice as safe compared to driving according to a Journal of Public Transportation study. Stay aware of your surroundings and if you see something, say something.
If you do suffer serious injuries on a BART train or in a station, get medical treatment right away. And before you sign anything, contact usfor a free consultation.
Photo by Nathan Rupert, Flickr