Rapes, sexual assaults on the rise on BART


OAKLAND — Violent sex crimes are on the rise at BART, with a near doubling of rapes reported just in the first six months of this year, compared to all of last year, the agency reported.

There were seven rapes reported on BART property from January through the end of June, compared to four in 2016, three in 2015 and two in 2014, according to BART police. At the same time, there has been a notable increase in the number of reported sexual assaults, with 28 in the first six months of the year. That’s the same number of sexual assaults reported during all of 2016, which was already up 75 percent from 2015, when only 16 sexual assault cases were reported.

BART’s new police chief, Carlos Rojas, called the increase in sexual violence “a concern,” but cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the numbers alone. The agency released limited information to the public about the rapes and sexual batteries when they occurred, which Rojas said was probably appropriate at the time. He was officially sworn in as the chief on May 25.

“You have to keep it within context,” Rojas said. “Really, what you start looking at is, ‘Is there a certain individual that’s going around sexually assaulting people, and do we have a serial rapist, or is there a certain activity or environment that is contributing to somebody being placed in a vulnerable position?’”

That was not the case in the seven reports of rape so far this year, he said.

BART declined to immediately provide documentation of the rape reports, but Rojas described each case in a phone interview. The victims were both male and female, some of whom knew the assailant, and others who did not, he said. Some of the crimes occurred on BART train cars, while others took …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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