New BART app allows riders to report crimes, suspicious activity

Two arrested after spotted on tracks at Richmond BART station

A new app called BART Watch allows riders to easily and discreetly report crimes or suspicious items on the transit system, the transit agency said Thursday.

The app, which allows riders to text police or access a “one tap” button to call cops, is available on iOS and Android. BART says it is the only transit agency to offer the app in both English and Spanish.

“The BART Watch app will be free for BART riders to download from our website or they can go directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play,” BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said in a statement.

Text reports can be sent anonymously, and even if riders are in an area without cellular service, reports will be stored and delivered as soon as service returns to their phones. The reports go directly to BART Police Dispatch.

BART listed some crimes that are worthy to report, including crime in progress; illegally parked vehicles; disruptive behavior; robbery or theft; unattended bag or package and vandalism.

With the app, BART police can also text riders in cases of emergencies.

A multiyear contract with ELERTS Corp. for the app service was approved by the transit agency’s board of directors in March. ELERTS Corp. has activated similar apps for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.