OAKLAND (KCBS) — Transit officials increased security Friday at Bay Area BART stations in the wake of a terrorist bombing in London that left 22 people injured.
While saying there has not been a threat against the agency’s trains, BART officials said the deployment of the additional officers was part of its “See Something Say Something” campaign.
BART Police Deputy Chief Ed Alvarez said at a press conference at the West Oakland station that riders will see an increased number of uniformed officers in the downtown San Francisco and Oakland areas.
“We’re looking for unattended and suspicious packages. That stuff sticks out. It’s pretty obvious,” said BART Police Deputy Chief Alvarez. “People that look suspicious, anything out of the ordinary, anything that’s outside of the normal commuter.”
Transit officials asked riders to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity by calling 510-464-7000 or using the BART Watch App.
Some riders said staying vigilant is something they do already.
“Try not to sleep, keep my eyes open, be aware,” said rider James Owens.
“I don’t know what more I can do,” said BART Rider Andy Kashyam. “I’m always aware of my surroundings, so I don’t know what more I can do.”
With almost a half a million people riding BART each weekday, some commuters worry it could become a target for terror.
“I think there’s always a threat when you’re putting yourself out in a public space and traveling with a million strangers,” said BART rider Lauren Sampere.
BART officials said they’re paying officers overtime for the extra patrols and will use some funding from TSA to maintain a visible police presence.
BART Police will have an increased presence for the next couple of days, but won’t say exactly how long they’ll have the increased patrols.
Meanwhile, hundreds of British police were embarking on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour.
The explosion — labeled a terrorist attack by police — wounded 22 people and ignited a panicked stampede to safety. Experts said London may have escaped far worse carnage because it appeared that the bomb only partially exploded.
“Clearly, this was a device that was intended to cause significant harm,” Prime Minister Theresa May said after chairing a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee.
Police called it a terrorist attack, the fifth in Britain this year.
Witnesses described seeing a “wall of fire” as the bomb — hidden in a plastic bucket inside a supermarket freezer bag — went off about 8:20 a.m. while the train was at the Parsons Green station in southwest London.
It was not a large explosion, and British police and health officials said none of the injured was thought to be seriously hurt.