SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Sexual assault crimes on BART have nearly doubled this year compared to last year.
In fact, sexually related crimes have been steadily on the rise over the past two years.
In the first half of 2017, there have been seven reports of sexual assaults on BART property.
“It is important to remember that these are happening all over, there is not a pattern there is not a serial rapist,” said BART police spokesperson Taylor Huckaby.
The sexual assault cases involve different suspects, committing crimes in various locations throughout the transit system including BART trains, stairwells, and parking lots, according to BART officials.
The most recent sex crime happened on May 24 at the North Berkeley station. A woman reported being groped by a man onboard a train.
“They are up over last year,” Huckaby said. “In 2015, I believe we had three on Bart, four in 2016.”
Some passengers were surprised to learn that sex related crimes were happening on BART.
“You do see a lot of harassment, people walking around, just not leaving people alone in general but I didn’t know that this was something on the rise,” BART passenger Ethan Refield said.
“At night it gets a little sketch,” another BART passenger said.
In response, BART is experimenting with new deployment strategies to increase police presence at BART stations.
“There is a bit of a redeployment strategy where we have our lieutenants who are moving out to the field, like at the Powell station, those lieutenants used to be at headquarters now they’re going to be out in the field,” Huckaby said.
Some passengers say people need to do more to protect themselves.
“Well, it is not necessarily the police presence that will make the difference,” BART passenger Lynette Robinson said. “It’s the people actually being aware.”
BART police officials say they have made arrests in five of the seven sexual assault cases this year.
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