VIDEO: El Cerrito BART crime crackdown

 

EL CERRITO (KRON) — BART is taking action to keep passengers safe at a pair of stations in El Cerrito.

That action involved teaming up with police in that city and targeting people suspected of committing an infraction that is getting way out of control.

Cracking down on fare evaders, that was the focus of a joint law enforcement operation with the BART Police Department and police in El Cerrito.

The location was BART’s two El Cerrito stations between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“The total citations issued were over 60,” El Cerrito police Sgt. David Wentworth said. “El Cerrito police issued 21 citations for fare evasion. One for open container and there were four arrests made.”

“Highly visible police presence at the station,” BART police Deputy Chief Lance Haight said. “What we found is that it absolutely curtails crime at the station but also in the surrounding areas.”

El Cerrito was the first city to see this type of joint law enforcement action with BART from their perspective.

“The idea is to combat the crime before it hits the city with the help of BART obviously,” Sgt. Wentworth said.

The other idea is to decrease the amount of revenue the transit agency says it is losing when riders don’t pay.

“There appears to be a large number of people who fare evade,” Deputy Chief Haight said. “BART estimates the figure to be upwards of $25 million a year that through people who aren’t paying their fare.”

This was BART police’s first fare evasion operation with another police department this year, but it may not be the last

“This is an ongoing effort to work with outside agencies throughout the system,” Deputy Chief Haight said.

Officials at both police departments say this operation was not apart of BART’s recently approved proof of payment ordinance that goes into effect on Jan. 2018.

Police officials say all interactions and citations occurred after viewing someone in the act of fare evading.

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