Categorized | Crime, Slide Shows

El Cerrito BART Paths Targeted by Robbers

BY N’JERI EATON //

Three Richmond teenagers were arrested in El Cerrito in connection with a series of strong-arm robberies on a path near the BART tracks last week. The teens – two 16-year-old boys and a 13-year-old girl – are suspected of six robberies in a three day period.

The paths behind the El Cerrito Plaza and Del Norte BART stations have been a prime location for robberies. According to the El Cerrito Police log, 17 robberies have been reported since March along these paths.

BART employee Victor Martinez has been working as a station agent at El Cerrito Plaza for the last five years. He said muggings are “rare” but when they do happen, they are always a shock.

At the Del Norte BART station just a few blocks away, robberies are a more common crime. An unidentified station BART employee at the station said robberies happen “all day, everyday.” Despite the presence of a BART police station at Del Norte, thefts seem to plague the area.

Martinez believes thefts, often perpetrated by teenagers, signify a larger problem.

“It’s a tragedy that you’re seeing teenagers do it. To me it’s a social tragedy,” he said. “It’s telling me that something is going on here where our youth are not being mentored or guided.”

The Del Norte station agent said that iPods and high-end cell phones are the most frequently stolen item because they have a quick resell value. BART has encouraged commuters not to wear the white earbud headphones that come with iPods.

Laptops are another hot commodity for thieves. Martinez says that he warns commuters to not buy easily recognizable laptop bags.

“I tell them, they’re better off getting a backpack with a pillow in it,” Martinez said.

For more safety tips, watch this slideshow.

Both the station agents and the official BART Safety Guide say that staying alert and aware of their surroundings is the best way for passengers to stay safe. The Del Norte station agent suggests that passengers pass through the station as quickly as possible.

“If you want to be unsafe then hang out at the station,” he said. “Its not a matter of if but when.”

For more information, click on the following links

Video Guide to Passenger Safety
http://www.bart.gov/news/barttv/?&cat=34&id=295

Contact information by zone for BART Police
http://bart.gov/about/police/contact.aspxBART Safety Tips

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