Meet Muni's Safety Czar

What authorities are doing to quell violence on Muni and AC Transit

By Vicky Nguyen
|  Saturday, May 29, 2010  |  Updated 8:43 AM PDT
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Just search "Muni assault" or "AC Transit fight" on Youtube and dozens of videos pop up. Some have been viewed more than a million times. It's not the kind of attention either agency wants.

From January 1, 2010 to May 10, 2010, 458 crimes were reported on Muni. 25 were assaults. Deputy Chief John Murphy with SFPD is the man tasked with cracking down on Muni crime. He says in the past, "two officers were assigned to Muni a day [in various districts]." Now, the city's 10 district captains have access to focused statistics that tell them what crimes are being committed, where, and when. "We're putting cops on dots where the crimes are committed," says Murphy.

Across the Bay  on AC Transit, the numbers are much higher when it comes to violent crime.  The agency recorded 228 crimes in the first three months of 2010, including 66 assaults. That's down slightly from the same period on 2009 when AC Transit recorded 258 crimes, including 81 assaults.

Theft, robberies and vandalism also rank high on the list of crimes.

Authorities at both Muni and AC Transit say they have plainclothes and uniformed officers who ride the buses, as well as security cameras on most, but they implore riders to do their part for a safe ride too.

Murphy says. "Be aware of your surroundings. Keep iPods and phones in your pocket. Look for pickpockets who have jackets over their arms who might try to bump into you. And ladies, wear your purse under your jacket."

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