BART police, SFPD team up for safer Civic Center station

Officials with the San Francisco and BART police departments have teamed up to help make sure the BART Civic Center Station is safe for commuters and visitors.

The station has been under a microscope in the last few months after a member of the public posted a video of people injecting themselves with drugs and passed out along a corridor inside the station.

Both police chiefs promised more man hours to patrol the Civic Center Station area. The station is also shared with the Muni Metro subway.

San Francisco Chief of Police Bill Scott speaks at the Civic Center BART Station in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said at a press conference inside Civic Center Station Wednesday that his department will dedicate an extra 290 hours a week of officers patrolling the station, in plain clothes and in uniform.

BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas said his department will also increase the number of hours officers will patrol the station. Staffing patrol levels will increase by 78 hours a week, a 30 percent increase from the current levels.

Rojas said:

“This is one team and It doesn’t matter if it’s a San Francisco patch or BART patch.”

BART is also joining The City’s Healthy Streets Operation Center that addresses homelessness and street behavior issues.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell speaks at the Civic Center BART Station in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

Mayor Mark Farrell said Civic Center Station is the doorway to City Hall, United Nations Plaza and the growing mid-Market area, but that the station also reflects The City’s most pressing issues, like homelessness and drug use:

“This is the heart of San Francisco and it is become unfortunately a glimpse into the homeless and behavioral health issues we have in San Francisco.”

A new syringe disposal box rests in UN Plaza in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

Farrell added it did not matter who has jurisdiction around station but that both police departments needed to collaborate to work on making the station safe for commuters, residents and visitors:

“It shouldn’t matter for people that use BART which police department is covering this area; which police department has jurisdiction. They just want to feel safe and they deserve the right to feel safe.”

Barbara Garcia, director of public health, said the Department of Public Health has been working with both police departments to identify individuals of concern so that health officials can provide them with resources and help:

“We’re really doing an individualized approach to this.”

Additionally, The City installed a new bin for people to throw away used syringes outside of the United Nations Plaza entrance into the station.

A worker wheels boxes at the Civic Center BART Station in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018.

BART has already begun other collaborations with The City including providing $1.6 million to help fund Homeless Outreach Teams and elevator attendants at joint BART and Muni subway stations.