Metro News Release

For immediate release: February 18, 2011

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Metro Transit Police reminds riders to protect electronic devices
Robberies of stolen electronic devices up

The Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) reminds riders to protect their personal electronic devices, and remain aware of their surroundings while traveling in the Metro system to help prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime.

Last calendar year saw stolen electronic devices accounting for 76 percent of Metro-related robberies. Consistent with the region, those types of thefts are climbing and 60 percent of the stolen devices in 2010 were snatched from customers. The types of robberies that Metro Transit Police are currently seeing involve a thief targeting a rider who is sitting or standing near the doors with a phone or music player in hand. After the train doors open, the thief grabs the device from the victim’s hand and runs out just as the train doors close.

“These types of crimes are crimes of opportunity,” said MTPD Deputy Chief Ronald Pavlik. “We encourage our riders to take easy, common-sense steps to reduce their chances of becoming a target for thieves. Pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your phones, iPads and music players concealed.”

With the growing popularity of technology devices such as SmartPhones, iPads and Kindles being carried by Metro riders, in addition to already-popular cell phones, music players and electronic games, people are often carrying devices worth hundreds of dollars.

Metro trains carry public service messages that say, “Thefts of electronic devices are on the rise.” The ads depict a thief ready to snatch a phone out of a rider’s hands and provide tips on how to reduce the chances of becoming a target for thieves.

In addition, MTPD posted a video online  that demonstrates just how quick and easy it is for a thief to snatch a phone and get away. It also has posted tips online about how to protect personal property, broadcasts public safety announcements reminding riders to keep their electronic devices concealed, and distributes flyers with tips on protecting electronic devices to riders using cell phones or listening to music players.

MTPD emphasizes the importance of remaining aware and alert at all times, and protecting personal belongings such as phones, music players, purse and wallets while traveling on Metro and offers the following tips:

• Always be alert of your surroundings and the people around you.
• Carry electronic devices in a pocket or a place where it is not easily seen or easy to reach.
• Keep the volume of your music player at a low to moderate level so that you can hear what’s going on around you.
• When using an electronic device, avoid sitting or standing near doors of rail cars or buses.
• Report any suspicious activity to a Metro employee or call the Metro Transit Police at 202-962-2121.
Visit here for more crime prevention information.

News release issued at 5:43 pm, February 18, 2011.

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