Vandalism plagues Richmond BART station

Richmond's BART station is a tale of two garages. 

The transit agency says parking is secure in Richmond's multi-story structure. But many riders say it is not, and that trouble goes beyond the occasional auto break-in. 

This week, a few cars were vandalized with spray paint on the fifth floor. 
"Do not go up there. Do not go up there," Benicia commuter Rhonda Rayford told KTVU, "trust me, everybody knows not to."
Rayford says teenagers have turned the top levels of the garage into their playground. 

"And what they think is funny? They're going to bust some windows," said Rayford, "and then we've got to pay the deductible, not cool." 

Some riders admit they prefer to park on the street when possible, or try to find a space on a lower level and close to the elevators, where cameras are prominent. 

But surveillance didn't stop the spray paint incident, discovered at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

One unnamed victim sent photos of the damage to the Richmond Standard newsletter. 

The pictures show a white Ford pickup truck defaced with a big " love you " message sprayed in black across the side. 

A silver BMW had the words "baby girl was here" and a heart scrawled across it the entire passenger side. 

The victim, a college student, blamed what she called: "delinquents that hang out, cut school, smoke weed in the elevators and vandalize cars." 

And on Facebook, commenters chimed in, one describing vandalism to his own vehicle, and "kids on bikes riding into elevators and to the top floor then racing down as fast as they can."

Another person declared, "that new garage at Richmond BART not safe, get on at Del Norte, much better." 

"Del Norte BART has more people, more access, and it's more guarded," said Richmond commuter Shadaya Crumb, "and the Richmond one is more forgotten, so it's easier to do stuff here."

Crumb's car was broken into in the garage, last week while she was at work. 

"I'm guessing the BART Police did come because they left a card on my windshield," she told KTVU.

Her driver's side window was shattered, her trunk opened, items stolen and scattered about. 

Crumb says she sees police officers only infrequently. 

"Every now and then, and in the garage, maybe once every two months," said Crumb," it's not enough, not enough for anyone to be scared."

BART says it is reviewing camera footage for evidence in the Monday vandalism, which occurred when officers were preoccupied at the North Berkeley station, apprehending some robbery suspects. 

Even though teh police force has grown in recent years, officers are still stretched thin among stations at any given time. 

In response to KTVU inquiries, a BART statement responded, in part, ""High visibility patrols of the Richmond station have resulted in a reduction in crime at Richmond and this type of vandalism is very uncommon."

But that's not how many riders see it, especially on the upper garage floors. 

"The kids run around and do what they want to do, and the Bart Police don't do anything," said commuter Rayford, "it's a nightmare, it's terrible, and we need help, we really need help."