BART Board Action on Security, Crime Problems Falls Short as Rider Fear, Anxiety Rises

San Francisco — Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman today expressed disappointment that the BART Board of Directors’ voted to delay action on a full package of measures to increase police presence and security on the system following a recent spate of violent and deadly attacks.

“It’s hard to believe in the face of growing public fear and anxiety about safety on BART that the Board wouldn’t act swiftly and aggressively to adopt the full slate of strong measures for restoring confidence in the system,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Board’s decision is a disservice to the more than 420,000 BART riders who rely on the system daily and presents an open invitation to criminals and others who flagrantly ignore system rules and regulations to continue to act with impunity.”

The Board on a 7-2 vote delayed action on a many of the elements of a proposal by BART General Manager Grace Crunican to implement a range of new safety measures largely over public privacy and civil rights concerns.

In testimony during the hearing, Wunderman called on the Board to approve the full package proposed by Crunican and also to pursue a regional mutual aid response that would leverage local and regional law enforcement resources to bolster BART’s own depleted police force. The Board did direct BART staff to explore partnership and collaboration opportunities with law enforcement and other community-serving agencies. Wunderman had made the mutual aid proposal in the days leading up to the meeting.

In a statement earlier this week, Wunderman said: “We need swift, forceful and sustained action to avoid future violent attacks and restore public confidence in the Bay Area’s largest mass transit system. Like we do in cases of natural disasters and other extreme emergencies, we must mobilize local law enforcement to partner with BART as it works to address a troubling spike in violent crime in the system.

Read Jim Wunderman’s letter to the BART Board>>

Read the Council’s earlier statement calling for regional mutual aid response>>

About the Bay Area Council
The Bay Area Council is a business-sponsored, public-policy advocacy organization for the nine-county Bay Area. The Council proactively advocates for a strong economy, a vital business environment, and a better quality of life for everyone who lives here. Founded in 1945, the Bay Area Council is widely respected by elected officials, policy makers and other civic leaders as the voice of Bay Area business. Today, more than 300 of the largest employers in the region support the Bay Area Council and offer their CEO or top executive as a member. Our members employ more than 4.43 million workers and have revenues of $1.94 trillion, worldwide. Learn more at www.bayareacouncil.org.