Officers escort people from BART station to cars


Street vendor Supreme King "The Incense Man" sees a lot at the West Oakland BART station while selling his goods.

"A patron just walked off, thought she was safe and was going to her car, and guy just ran by and grabbed all her stuff and took off running," said King.

Police say more of these crimes happen around the holidays, especially with BART passengers returning home after a day of shopping.

On Thursday night BART, Oakland police, private security guards, and citizen volunteers are offering free nighttime escorts for passengers walking to their cars. BART passenger Michelle Caesar took advantage of it.

"You know it's the holiday season so people are really amped up trying to get stuff for the holidays and they do it any way they can. So you know, it's better to be safe than sorry," said Caesar.

This large scale program is just for one night, but BART says it provides assistance year round.

"Any time a BART customer would like an escort to their car, all they have to do is ask the station agent, or they can telephone BART police," said BART Officer Era Jenkins.

The main purpose of this program is to teach passengers not to look like easy prey. Don't distract yourself by walking and talking on the phone or listening to music. Don't wear flashy jewelry. Make eye contact with people and be aware of your surroundings. In a nutshell, they're trying to get people to be more street smart.

Police say electronic devices are the prime target for thieves who can turn them for quick money. That's why simple awareness can be the best deterrent from what police call "crimes of opportunity. "

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