Two years ago you more likely to see a BART cop on YouTube than you were to find them on a train.
Even after scuffles between BART cops and passengers were caught on video and the emotionally-charged trial of Oscar Grant, riders still said they wanted to see more police on the trains.
A year later, BART riders can take some comfort in knowing that the transit agency has dedicated a team of cops to ride the trains full-time. And here is the best part -- we aren't paying for it.
The federal government gave BART a $3 million grant to train and buy equipment for the Critical Asset Patrol Team, a group of seven officers and one sergeant. The group will be trained specifically to respond to terrorism, but what they will mostly likely be dealing with on a daily basis are drunk riders, lost tourists, and brawling passengers.
The truth is, BART police have traditionally logged very few hours riding trains in part because there is very little crime that happens on the trains compared to the stations and the parking lots, said BART Police Lt. Aaron Ledford. Recent statistics show that parking lot theft and bike theft increased over the last quarter.
But because surveys have continued to show that passengers would like to see more cops trolling the trains, that's been the priority for BART police over the last year, he said.
"It's a tough balance," Ledford said. "We know people want to see police
on the trains, but we typically have more crime off the trains than on
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