BART adds police patrol centers near Union Square stops to curb crime during holidays

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The holiday shopping season is near and that means both shoppers and scammers are out. A new safety and public awareness campaign is under way at Union Square.

BART now has police kiosks at both Powell and Civic Center stations. The desks should help with any problems there and out here this holiday season.

Homeless, aggressive panhandlers, pick-pocketers and scammers will all be under the watchful eye of BART police officers manning a new patrol desk. It's also to help tourists feel safer during their visit.

"We want to make sure it is more easily accessible and increases their comfort level with using the station," said BART spokesperson Chris Filippi.

It's already working.

"I think that's a very good idea so you feel more safe," said Texas resident Shiva Aldaparvar.

Police will man the desks in between calls. With 10,000 more people coming through Union Square daily during the holidays, out-of-towners want the extra help.

"It's definitely the amount of people and the amount of people asking for things that gets kind of overwhelming sometimes, I guess," said Pleasanton resident Hannah Schott.

"Be aware of pick pockets, other opportunists, be aware of your surrounding, walk with a purpose," said Karin Flood of the Union Square Business Improvement District.

The Union Square business Improvement District is also on alert. They're hoping the extra 100 cameras installed in the area will keep crime stats down this holiday.
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