Good Week on the Public Safety Front
There was a triple shot of good news this week for addressing public concerns about crime, safety and cleanliness on BART and on San Francisco streets. Restoring a sense of safety in our cities and on transit is critical to bringing commuters, workers and visitors back to our downtowns, restoring ridership, supporting local businesses and strengthening our economy.
BART announced it would begin deploying police officers to ride its trains and patrol stations. Concerns about crime and safety are cited as a major reason workers and others are hesitant to return to the system, threatening BART’s financial survival. The Bay Area Council has been a strong advocate for addressing safety on BART and we’ve partnered with BART on solutions. Council Chief Operating Officer John Grubb joined a news conference this week with BART leadership to announce the move.
Also this week and behind the Council’s advocacy, BART announced it is moving ahead with installing new, more secure fare gates systemwide. It expects to award contracts in May and complete the first phase of work in May 2026. Said Council CEO Jim Wunderman, “We applaud BART for making this important investment in the future of the system. With ridership remaining stubbornly low and an approaching fiscal cliff, BART must do everything in its power to install these new, secure fare gates as quickly as possible. Time is not on our side. We have been proud to partner with BART to address the many challenges it’s facing and we’ll continue working with BART to ensure it remains the region’s backbone public transit system for decades to come.”
And on Tuesday (March 21), the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved Mayor London Breed’s request for $25 million in additional funding for police overtime as the city faces a serious staffing shortage. The Council advocated for the funding and applauded the Board’s action. The Council through its new Public Safety Initiative is working with police chiefs from San Francisco and other Bay Area cities to address a wider police staffing shortage afflicting the region and developing strategies for attracting new recruits. To engage in our Public Safety Initiative, please contact Policy Director Laura Hill.