San Francisco Transit Refuses to Release Robbery Videos Over Fears of Racism

When political correctness trumps safety. 

BART Says Releasing Crime Videos May Create Racial Bias

BART executive says media’s “real interest” in crime videos is “in pursuit of ratings” and to “drive clicks” on their websites. Juliette Goodrich reports. (7/10/17)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authority has decided not to release surveillance videos of robberies occurring at BART stations for fear they videos might incite racism.

People have begun to fear for their safety due to the numerous crimes, but fears of stereotyping have taken priority with BART officials.

According to CBS SF Bay Area, three different incidents are in question:

April 22: Forty to sixty kids boarded a train at the Coliseum stop and robbed seven passengers, beating up two;

June 28: A group of four kids assaulted a passenger and made off with a cell phone at Dublin; and

June 30: A woman on a train with about a dozen teenagers had her phone snatched by one them before the group got off at the Coliseum stop. Thankfully, a good Samaritan was on hand to retrieve the phone.


Debora Allen, who sits on the BART Board of Directors, acknowledged that “people are genuinely concerned” due to these crimes. She is furious that officials around her have decided to put the safety of passengers behind politically correct behavior:

“To release these videos would create a high level of racially insensitive commentary toward the district,” she was told. “And in addition it would create a racial bias in the riders against minorities on the trains.”

According to a memo distributed to BART Directors, the agency won’t do a press release on the June 30 theft because it was a “petty crime” that would make BART look “crime ridden.” Furthermore, it would “unfairly affect and characterize riders of color, leading to sweeping generalizations in media reports.”

The memo was from BART Assistant General Manager Kerry Hamill.

Allen emailed Hamill, “I don’t understand what role the color of one’s skin plays in this issue [of whether to divulge information]. Can you explain?” Hamill responded, “If we were to regularly feed the news media video of crimes on our system that involve minority suspects, particularly when they are minors, we would certainly face questions as to why we were sensationalizing relatively minor crimes and perpetuating false stereotypes in the process.” And added her opinion of the media: “My view is that the media’s real interest in the videos of youth phone snatching incidents isn’t the desire for transparency but rather the pursuit of ratings. They know that video of these events will drive clicks to their websites and viewers to their programs because people are motivated by fear.”