Extra police on Muni slash smartphone thefts

Muni riders may have noticed more San Francisco police officers in the last month.

Since Oct. 1, when extra officers started riding Muni, smartphone thefts plummeted to nine in October from 51 in September, said Mayor Ed Lee.

It’s the latest effort from the transit agency and the San Francisco Police Department to stop smartphone theft and give tips to riders on how to protect themselves from being the next victim.

Additional police officers on board Muni buses, trains and cable cars are funded by a $1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Lee said it’s just not up to police officers to prevent smartphone thefts in The City. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation began its “Eyes Up ,Phone Down” campaign to tell riders to put away their phones and to pay attention to their surroundings.

Police Chief Greg Suhr agreed with Lee:

“Be smart. Don’t make it available. You wouldn’t walk down the street counting hundreds of dollars. That’s what you’re doing when you’re not paying attention and you’re engaged or engrossed in your cell phone”

The transit agency said fare inspectors may approach riders with smartphones out to talk about safety tips and cards to prevent smartphone thefts.

Riders can also visit the SFMTA website for more safety tips to keep their smartphones from getting stolen.