Barring any new setbacks, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is scheduled to open in Milpitas in September, 2019.
In the meantime, Police Chief Armando Corpuz, along with his team at the Milpitas Police Department, is preparing for the potential impact that such a tremendous mass transit addition will bring to Milpitas.
This past Monday, July 23, at the Milpitas Rotary Club meeting, Chief Corpuz delivered a thorough presentation on BART, referencing all the research and planning that the Police Department has engaged in to support its opening.
“I am giving you the public safety perspective,” said Chief Corpuz. “The things I’m going to comment about are my concerns and the concerns of people in the police department, from the perspective of community safety and what we need to do to prepare for the BART opening, and how to prepare the city in respect to the area.”
The department has been studying statistics and data, looking at similar cities with BART stations…
Pleasanton’s West BART station opened near the Stoneridge Mall in February, 2011. The data shows that in 2012, in the area surrounding the mall, an immediate increase in theft, auto theft, and assault occurred. The following year, an increase in robberies followed.
Similarly, the City of San Bruno saw the opening of their BART station in 2003, which was followed by a general increase in crime, along with increased calls related to homelessness and drug violations. An officer is currently stationed around BART, as they are dealing with two to three car burglaries a day at the station.
Chief Corpuz also cited a study from 2017, called The Impact of Mass Transit on Public Security, which concluded that crime and mass transit in San Francisco are closely related.
Despite all this, the Chief wished to stress that Milpitas will not experience the same level of crime as San Francisco, given that it’s an entirely different city:
“I would not be doing my job if I wasn’t considering this data, this information, and asking myself and our staff, what is the potential impact to the city of Milpitas, to our residents, and the people coming here to do business,” said Chief Corpuz. “This is all an effort to enhance community safety. It’s not doom and gloom. There’s a lot of benefit to public transit and BART coming to Milpitas.”
Although BART’s opening will potentially bring about an increase in crime, traffic congestion and collisions, and emergency and non-emergency calls to the Dispatch Center, Chief Corpuz and his department are working hard to support and protect the public safety of Milpitas residents, and anyone working or visiting the city.
For example, the Milpitas Police Department is looking at increasing staffing, and potentially adding another beat, with a new substation. They also plan to embrace new technology, by implementing things like Text to 911, which should be live by the end of this year. Plans on how to work closely and efficiently with BART’s Police Department are also underway; they are looking at setting up CAD to CAD, which is a linking of their computer-aided dispatch systems, and will allow the two bodies to quickly share information.
Chief Corpuz ended the presentation by sharing tips on how to not be a crime victim. Being aware of your surroundings, never hesitating to call the police department, and reporting suspicious behavior are all key.
“It’s a privilege to serve as your chief. This is a great place to live, and a great place to work,” Corpuz told the room. “I don’t want to leave you with an impression of doom and gloom. These are the things we consider, these are the things we prepare for. This is an extraordinarily safe city, when it comes to other areas around us. I want you to remember that.”
The next Milpitas Rotary Club meeting will be on Monday, July 30. Monterey Bay Aquarium Oceanographer Tom Reilly will discuss changes in our oceans and climate. The meeting goes from 12:00pm to 1:30pm, and will be at Dave & Buster’s at the Great Mall in Milpitas. For more information, check out the new Milpitas Rotary Club website.