You've heard the advice before on BART and Muni, but maybe you need to hear it again: Keep your head up and not in your phone if you want to keep from having your phone snatched out of your hands by a thief.
BART Police are going to be handing out cards to passengers this week reminding them of this advice after an apparent uptick in cell phone thievery in the first four months of this year. According to BART, via NBC Bay Area, there have been 402 thefts of electronic items so far this year, and 29 suspects have been arrested on suspicion of robbery or grand theft.
As the cards say, "It’s like holding a thousand-dollar bill in your hand," and BART riders should be especially cautious using their phones while standing near train doors. Phone theft is often a crime of opportunity, and an unaware cell phone user distracted by whatever they're looking at on their device is the likeliest target when a train comes to a stop, and a thief can snatch it and run off the train.
“Protect your cell phones, we get a lot of thefts down here!” @SFBART officers carrying out campaign to alert riders of explosion in property crime...handing out pamphlets. “It’s like holding a thousand-dollar bill in your hand.” 💵💵💵 @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/q2DGIDZeZZ— Sam Brock (@SamNBCBayArea) May 28, 2019
BART Police put out the following graph showing how many more thefts occur from snatching, as opposed to using force or fear.
BART Police detectives plan to be handing out the index-card-sized warnings on trains passing through SF, between Embarcadero and Balboa Park stations.
Also, BPD used this opportunity tout the fact that it is in the midst of a big recruitment drive for new officers, and it's already hired 26 prospective officers this year — which is 2 more than the department hired in all of 2018.