New emergency call boxes installed at Oakland Coliseum BART station

New emergency call boxes have been installed at the Oakland Coliseum BART station in an effort to improve safety.

The three new call boxes are positioned throughout the platform and provide a 9-1-1 style service for riders, according to Mimi Bolaffi, Manager of Security Programs for BART.

“Sometimes people may not have a cell phone, maybe they dropped their cell phone, maybe they don’t have cell phone service, so this is another tool in our tool box,” Bolaffi said.

A red emergency button will immediately connect riders to a BART police dispatcher and activate a surveillance camera on top of the emergency call box. This allows the dispatcher to see the caller and check the view of the cameras in the surrounding area. A blue light will flash when a call is active. 

Bolaffi said the safety measures are part of a layered approach to security and were part of a comprehensive Safety and Security Action Plan. The plan included a series of proposals that were made last August following the stabbing death of Nia Wilson at the MacArthur station.

“We looked at all levels of crime,” Bolaffi said. “Of course the violent crime is the most concerning for us as well as property crime, but in addition to the crime levels we also looked at multi use. In this station we have the Coliseum and we have the Oakland Airport connector so there are multiple uses for this platform.”

BART stations currently have white courtesy telephones that connect to the station agent booth, but emergency call boxes offer another option for riders and a quicker connection to BART Police.  BART also offers the free BART Watch app that allows riders to discreetly communicate via text with police dispatchers about criminal or suspicious activity.

The success of this platform emergency call box pilot program will drive decisions related to system wide implementation, which is estimated to cost roughly $10 million dollars.