Express Train for Criminals? Concerns over BART Extension to South Bay

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo examines how the upcoming San Jose BART extension is raising crime concerns in the city. (Published Friday, Mar 28, 2014)

    Some are worried the project to extend BART service to the South Bay could bring crime along with it.

    Police sources tell NBC Bay Area they are concerned criminals will jump on BART trains from the East Bay, rob and burglarize South Bay homes and businesses, then disappear back onto BART.

    "It's going to be out of control. People don't even know,” said one of the five South Bay officers who spoke with NBC Bay Area under the condition that they not be named.

    Beat cops already have a nickname for the train that will eventually carry riders from what’s now the end of the line, Fremont, all the way to the new Berryessa BART station in San Jose: “the 2-11 Express.” The penal code for robbery in California is 2-11.

    Jean Shiba owns a liquor store down the street from the under-construction Berryessa BART station. She says her store has already been robbed once.

    "We got tied up,” Shiba said. “It was a nightmare. We're still very scared"

    Shiba said she will be more even more scared after BART trains start rolling into her Berryessa neighborhood.

    Her fears might be warranted. People living in Pleasanton say crime at the Stoneridge Shopping Center ballooned after BART opened its West Dublin/Pleasanton station three years ago.

    But other merchants and customers near the future Berryessa BART station are welcoming the train’s arrival.

    “I don’t think it’s a big concern, because there's so much potential coming out of BART stations,” said Timothy Truong, who owns a Little Caesars pizza restaurant near the future BART stop.

    Little Caesars customers NBC Bay Area spoke with on Friday didn’t seem too concerned either, but with increased crime and fewer police on the streets of San Jose, beat cops say the problem is only going to get worse.

    BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the transit agency is hiring more BART police officers to patrol the trains into San Jose and South Bay BART stations in the South Bay.