SAN FRANCISCO—Locals have expressed disagreement over the way the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authorities publicly address crimes that occur within the transit system.
BART officials have disclosed that, despite the installation of surveillance cameras, they fear releasing the video footage or press report detailing crimes that have transpired may spark racially insensitive discussions among residents of city districts. In the past three months, a series of crimes have transpired including several robberies. BART refused to release any evidence of these incidents for the fear of exuding bias toward ethnic minorities who board the trains, according to BART representative Debora Allen.
Reports indicate the suspects in all three of the following crimes were of color. On April 22, a large group of children (comprised of about 40-60) robbed seven riders and assaulted two. On June 28, four children assaulted one of the riders and fled with a mobile phone. Two days later, on June 30, a woman and a group of teenagers were exiting the train simultaneously when one of them snatched her cell phone (though she was later able to retrieve it), which BART staff members allegedly did not release information on as they deemed to crime to have been “petty.”
Staff members contend that each time news of a crime is released, they receive a higher volume of emails and phone calls reporting racial discrimination. Taylor Huckaby, another representative, stated that the company is abiding by the law that emphasizes the protection of juvenile police records, but one of the suspects in the April 22 incident was actual 19 years-old.
“This is BART, people are sort of trapped in this train for awhile and they have a right to see what could potentially happen,” Huckaby told CBS SF Local.
BART has indicated that they have been releasing news of criminal behavior on CrimeMapping.com, though numerous riders claim that they were unaware of the site. A BART police chief contends that the site currently lacks specificity on the crimes that may help raise awareness amongst train passengers.