OAKLAND, Calif. - BART has seen a 22 percent increase in crime compared to the same time period as last year, and nearly all types of crime are up on the system after three years of decreases.
The new numbers were tallied before a group of teens robbed several passengers this past weekend on a train in Oakland.
BART's board of directors discussed the robbery at a meeting Thursday night. "I want to begin by expressing my sympathy to the victims," BART Board Vice President Robert Raburn said during a meeting.
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According to our media partner the Mercury News, BART Police Chief Jeff Jennings reports the increase is in every type of crime except bike and auto thefts. Chief Jennings said it was unclear what's behind the crime increase, but said smart phone thefts are still a major issue.
"We're very sorry that happened on our train and that we weren't in the position to actually stop that from happening," Jennings said. Since mid-March 19 people ages 12 to 21 have been arrested for what Chief Jennings says is the same type of thing that happened Saturday.
BART's board also discussed what to do about fare evasion, mulling options like hiring more officers to check tickets on the train, and building physical barriers at fare gates. Overtime was already increased to pay for more officers doing crime suppression in certain hot spots in San Francisco, Oakland and Pittsburg, and now a regional task force has been formed with local police departments in the East Bay that will start on Tuesday.
As for the group of teens who robbed several people and beat two others this past Saturday, Jennings says several arrest warrants have been issued, but so far, no arrests. "This is not unusual occurrence. The unusual part was that there was so many of them."
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