BART zones in on preventing holiday crime

SF Examiner file photoThe gift of safety: BART plans to enhance patrols and offer passengers at some stations escorts to their parked cars.

It’s the season for holiday crime, but preventive measures are being taken to ensure the safety of BART riders over the holidays.

The BART Police Department plans to beef up patrols at downtown San Francisco stations and to partner with other law enforcement agencies to offer riders escorts to parked cars.

BART and the Oakland Police Department will escort BART customers to their cars in West Oakland. The service will be offered to those who park either in the BART parking lot or within a three-block radius of the West Oakland station.

Community volunteers in red vests, Oakland police cadets and BART community service officers will provide the escorts.

On Wednesday, BART police and San Leandro police will offer escorts to people at the Bayfair station or those who shop at the Bayfair Mall.

To help reduce the risk of crime, passengers are advised to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

Wallets should be kept secure in zippered compartments of bags or purses, rather than carried in back pockets, and personal electronics — cellphones, digital music players and the like — should be secured, according to BART police.

Pickpockets may work in teams, so shoppers should be wary of anyone who tries to create a distraction or who bumps into people.

Anyone who observes suspicious activity on the BART system should report it to the transit police at (510) 464-7000.

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