RICHMOND -- Nearly two weeks after a man was shot and killed in front of commuters at the Richmond BART station, local and BART police have ramped up patrols at the station to ensure safety and assuage commuters' safety concerns.

BART police Lt. Steve Coontz, who is in charge of safety on the BART line from Richmond to Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, said one of his three officers will be based at the Richmond station during peak hours in the morning and afternoons.

"We are tying down a third of our strength at the Richmond station for a while to make people feel safer and send a message that we aren't going to accept violence at our station," he said.

The beefed-up security follows the March 14 killing of 34-year-old San Pablo resident Raymond Harris, who was shot in front of the BART entrance during daylight hours and in front of witnesses. Police discovered a second victim, a 26-year-old man, at Doctors Medical Center San Pablo after the shooting.

Witnesses said the shooter ran through the nearby transit village after killing Harris. No arrests have been made.

While BART police will anchor an officer at the Richmond station during peak hours, the Richmond Police Department will devote two officers to patrols of the area, even riding the trains.


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"We've never ridden the trains before," Richmond police Chief Chris Magnus said. "But in this case, we understand the perception that many Richmond residents and other commuters have about their comings and (goings) from the Richmond station. We are committed to improving safety there."

The three officers assigned to the station represent a stark difference from the pre-shooting deployment. Richmond police spent little time at the station, because it is within BART's jurisdiction, and BART officers were frequently at El Cerrito or Berkeley stations. Both Coontz and Magnus said their officers will be a constant presence and are encouraged to answer questions and engage the public at the station.

"BART is a very safe system overall," Coontz said. "What occurred (March 14) had nothing to do with BART. ... I don't think people need to feel Richmond is not a safe station to be. The surrounding area is problematic."

The increased patrols will last at least two weeks, after which police officials will "play it by ear," Coontz said.

Richmond police also will be handing out crime-prevention brochures to commuters, Magnus said.

"The average person should be careful and aware of their surroundings at any transit hub," Magnus said. "There is no substitute for caution."

The Richmond BART station opened in the early 1970s and has been seen as relatively free of violent crime. In addition to the March 14 killing, a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed at the station in 1994.

Violent crime in Richmond has been on a multiyear downward trend.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726 or rrogers@bayareanewsgroup.com or Twitter.com/roberthorgers.