Bay Area business offers self-defense classes after recent attacks on BART, Muni

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — We’ve seen violent crimes happen on both BART and Muni. Now a local San Francisco company is offering a self-defense workshop specifically for those who use public transportation.

Images of people being mugged or assaulted while riding public transportation, like a 79-year-old woman in San Francisco who was brutally kicked in the stomach last December, have increased the desire of some to learn how to defend themselves.

“I hear from my friends. I’ve been robbed or I’ve seen people just get attacked,” San Francisco resident Claudia Mendez said.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

Claudia Mendez takes public transportation every day and is constantly on the lookout.

“I’m starting to think about entrances. Do I look like a booty?” Mendez said.

She is one of the students who signed up for a course advertised as a public transport self-defense workshop. Moses Rickett, with Tactica Krav Maga, is the instructor behind it.

Foam: “What are you going to teach people?”

Rickett: “First of all, de-escalation and prevention. That’s the first key to self-defense. Not fighting. Fighting is never the answer, but when it is, it’s the only answer.”

Let’s look at the data. The SFMTA’s chief security officer says crimes are still happening, but there’s no increase. The SFPD reports about 2.14 Muni crimes per 100,000 miles.

“Because ridership is still low, these crimes continue to occur and create a sense of fear and insecurity,” said Kimberly Burrus, SFMTA’s chief security officer.

Burrus said their partnership with the SFPD is critical to protecting drivers and pointed to an arrest made in the attack on a 79-year-old woman.

EXCLUSIVE: 79-year-old woman kicked in stomach on SF Muni bus, highlighting rise in attacks

“That incident highlights the partnership that we have with our law enforcement partners. That incident happened and we shared evidence that the information got out to the public and everyone was aware of it, and ultimately they were able to arrest the individual,” Burrus said.

On BART, violent crimes are up 57% year-to-date through November 2021 compared to November 2022. The statement said in part:

“From January to November, we averaged one violent crime per day. But that’s still well below what we saw before the pandemic.”

Foam: “The fact that you even offer a class like this. What does that say about what’s going on in our city?”

Rickett: “It’s sad.”

MORE: 1 killed, 1 injured in Muni train shooting; SFPD releases images of persons of interest

Full BART statement:

“BART has a historically high number of uniformed safety personnel on platforms and trains, including dedicated train officers, new unarmed ambassadors, community service officers and fare inspectors. Crisis intervention specialists help those who are homeless or struggling with mental health or addiction .Increased attention is being paid to keeping station entrances clean and safe.BART is working to increase safety for girls and gender-expansive youth through our Not One More Girl campaign to end sexual harassment and gender-based violence in transportation.

Like most major transportation agencies across the country, we have seen an increase in crime compared to the early days of the pandemic as some drivers have returned to the system. From January to November, we had an average of one violent crime per day. But that’s still well below what we saw before the pandemic. As an example, we had 499 violent crimes in the system from January to November 2019, while we had 320 such incidents in the same time period in 2022.

All of our crime data is available to the public on in monthly Chief Reports.”

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