Let’s face it: there’s few things more romantic than trains, and robberies of said trains have formed the backbone of great novels and films for over a century. The modern reality is not quite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however. It’s impoverished and not quite moral bandits piling rocks onto tracks in a bid to derail a train, then making off with whatever they can sell. No dynamite and bank vaults here.
In Mexico, the rising popularity of such robberies is proving an expensive headache for automakers shipping cars from Mexican assembly plants.
Here’s the good news if you own a car in San Francisco or Oakland: property crime is down by a bit compared to last year. Furthermore, there’s a new “auto burglary task force” to increase the chances that your car isn’t going to disappear overnight.
Here’s the bad news: You might want to consider using that car instead of mass transit to commute to your job or to go out in the evenings.
On April 22, a “flash mob” of between 40 and 60 people identified by the media as “teens” performed a coordinated mass robbery and assault on the occupants of a BART train in Oakland, focusing their violent attention on a particular family. They blocked doors, assaulted passengers, took everything they wanted, and vacated the scene — in just a minute or two. A transit police unit in the parking lot responded about five minutes after the attack, but that was at least 180 seconds too late.
As the saying goes: “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”
A review of camera footage in the area has resulted in one arrest, but would-be BART users all around the Bay Area have to be asking themselves: Is this likely to happen again? And will this sort of vulnerability prevent commuters from making the switch to mass transit in the future?
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