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San Francisco Muni Launches Campaign To Curb Gadget Theft

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Surveillance video shows a group of thieves stealing a woman’s iPhone on a San Francisco Muni bus. (CBS)

Surveillance video shows a group of thieves stealing a woman’s iPhone on a San Francisco Muni bus. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – More San Francisco police officers have been assigned to Muni buses and trains, in an effort to stop the increasing number of robberies and thefts of riders’ electronic devices.

The transit agency has launched the “Eyes Up, Phones Down” campaign in coordination with the increased security presence.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Executive Director Ed Reiskin said the campaign reminds riders to stay aware of their surroundings.

“We’re really trying to change the behavior so the prevalence of this issue is much less and arguably, the need for ongoing police presence at this heightened level would be less,” Reiskin told KCBS.

Muni fare inspectors are also handing out cards to riders with tips on how to avoid being targeted by criminals.

The increased police presence began last month and is being paid for by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said they want to partner with the community to prevent what are often crimes of opportunity.

“Robberies would be down by double digits in San Francisco were it not for the alarming rate of cellphone theft,” Suhr said.

Mayor Ed Lee said the first month of the extra officer deployment saw an 80 percent drop in Muni robberies, which stood at 51 in September.

“The month of October, when we put them on there, that 51 robberies changed into nine robberies,” Lee said.

The increased police presence is funded for the next six months.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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