BART Adds Surveillance Monitors So Riders Can Preview Station Platform

BART installed a new surveillance monitor at Civic Center station so riders know “what the platform situation is” — but also to let people know they’re being watched.

New monitors installed at Civic Center BART station this week come with the convenience of train arrival times — and a preview of potential danger ahead.

A monitor at the northern Seventh Street entrance of the station now displays a feed of four surveillance cameras on the platform as a preview for riders who enter the fare gates.

BART announced the addition on Monday, saying that it shows “what the platform situation is.”

“It’s also a friendly reminder that we have working cameras all over the place and it is monitored,” BART tweeted.

The message evokes the common warning by retail stores to shoplifters, only without the passive-aggressive smiley face. But it’s also an indirect response to the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Nia Wilson on the platform of the MacArthur BART station in June, which garnered national attention.

In August, the BART Board of Directors approved parts of a $28 million “Safety and Security Action Plan,” which includes plans for video screens. Civic Center Station was already chosen for a prototype installation by Aug. 15.

While the new screen implies changes ahead, don’t expect to see a surveillance feed at every station entrance; additional board agreement and funds are needed for the plan to expand. BART estimates that a districtwide set of screens would cost about $1.14 million.

As it stands now, it’s just one more case where Civic Center station receives targeted attention. In June, then-Mayor Mark Farrell announced BART police and SFPD officers will spend 500 hours a week on the station to move unhoused individuals away from its hallways and platforms.

That’s 12 full-time officers-worth of the police resources on one station while SFPD is chronically understaffed, making sure that even without screens, BART’s denizens know they’re being watched.

This article has been updated with clarification.

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