On Thursday, BART’s General Manager, Grace Crunican, will ask the board to authorize her proposed Safety and Security Action Plan. These measures are being touted as basic safety precautions in response to the murder of Nia Wilson, but in reality, they’re a massive expansion of policing and surveillance, further endangering BART’s most vulnerable riders. Help keep BART safe for everyone – we need you to some speak up.
The proposals, released less than 72 hours before the board will vote on them, would create a system-wide security dragment for the Bay Area’s lifeline mass transit system, using the same platform that was proposed as the “brains” of the Domain Awareness Center (PSIM). If the board adopts the proposal, video surveillance would be massively expanded, starting at Civic Center and Lake Merritt stations. Instead of simply converting 2000 existing CCTV cameras to use modern IP communications, the plan would add geotagging and “advanced real-time analytics”, including faulty, biased facial recognition technology – which is so wildly inaccurate that it falsely matched 28 members of Congress, including Rep. Mark DeSaulnier from Concord, against a federal mugshot database.
Another proposal would expand implementation of BART’s fare inspection program, directly contradicting the board’s unanimous vote to suspend enforcement, pending a report about the program’s effectiveness and possible bias. Passing this proposal would damage the board’s authority to hold BART police accountable – it should be roundly rejected.
We’re also deeply concerned about simply increasing police presence on BART. According to the most recent data available, BART police are responsible for nearly a third of all train delays – more than any other single cause, or even the next three leading causes of delay combined.
Perhaps worst of all, despite the fact that BART’s own data shows a sharp decrease in quality of life complaints, the proposal includes a new ordinance banning all forms of panhandling on BART property, significantly expanding an existing ban on “aggressive panhandling”. This is a painfully obvious attempt to criminalize poverty.
We need you to show up on Thursday morning to tell the BART board that these proposals are completely unacceptable and will not stand. If work or other commitments keep you from attending the meeting in person on Thursday morning, use this link to share your thoughts with the BART board via email.
The last thing Nia Wilson would have wanted to come from her tragic death is more high-tech harassment of Black and Brown people. There are plenty of ways to improve security for every rider on the BART system at a cost of $15-25 million that don’t treat everyone like a criminal suspect. BART is a subway, not a perpetual lineup. We need you to come speak up.
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