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BART says felony arrests up 62% due to increased police presence on trains

BART police chief weighs in on ridership, safety troubles
BART police chief weighs in on train safety, department staffing 05:14

Deploying more officers on BART trains resulted in increased felony arrests over the past year, according to the transit agency.

The rapid transit system saw a 62% increase in arrests last year compared to 2022. The jump coincides with recruitment efforts of new officers and a strategic increase in the presence of safety personnel aboard trains, according to a statement from BART on Thursday.

Officers logged a total of 726 felony arrests in 2023, a sharp rise from the 448 recorded in the preceding year. They confiscated 49 illegal firearms, the highest number recovered by BART police in a single year since at least 2003.

BART Police Chief Kevin Franklin said the impact is the result of deploying more patrol officers on trains, noting that riders have reported noticing a palpable difference in safety. The latest quarterly performance review revealed that 20% of riders reported seeing BART police during their trips, an increase from the previous record of 17% in the preceding quarter.

The most frequent crime on BART is disturbing others and other code of conduct violations, according to a BART spokesperson.

BART employs around 214 police officers, around the same number they have had for years, the spokesperson said, but the arrests are due to the increased presence on trains.

In a bid to address staffing shortages, they have implemented a 22% salary increase for officers to be competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area. 

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