BART Developing App That Will Allow Riders To Report Crime Discreetly

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A BART police officer at the Oakland Coliseum station on August 11, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A BART police officer at the Oakland Coliseum station on August 11, 2005. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MelissaCulross_180 Melissa Culross
Melissa Culross had intended to become a novelist but was side-lined...
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OAKLAND (KCBS) – Officials with Bay Area Rapid Transit are working on a new smartphone app that will allow riders to report crimes, or other suspicious activities, in a more discreet manner.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the new app, which is still being developed, will fill a need for the transit agency, as riders have been asking for a more discreet way to communicate with police if they need to.

“We want to be able to have a two-way conversation with someone,” Trost said. “Very quietly, someone can take a picture, there won’t be a sound, there won’t be flash. And they can send it to BART police with a note.”

This is a major difference from BART’s current policy, as riders now have to call police themselves or notify the train operator, if they see something that concerns them on a train.

“Some people don’t want to draw any attention. They want to help out, they want to report that something bad is going on, or that someone is acting suspicious,” Trost said. “But they don’t want anyone to see them doing it. So finally, we have a tool that’s going to be in place in a few months, that allows patrons to do that.”

Trost said the free app, which is similar to one being used by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, will be available for download from BART’s website, and will be available in English, Spanish and basic Chinese.

Along with the silent photo and flash-free features, the app will be GPS-enabled.

BART’s Board of Directors approved a multi-year contract with ELERTS Corporation, which has created similar apps for other U.S. transit agencies.

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