Thefts of small electronic devices significantly increased last year on Metro

Thefts of small electronic devices and other personal belongings significantly increased on the Metro system last year, according to a report that will be presented to members of the transit agency’s board Thursday.

The agency said there is on average one or two thefts of devices a day on the system.

As a result of these crimes, Metro Transit Police officers have gone to high-crime spots in the system and posed as regular commuters. The agency has also advocated a program where customers can disable stolen phones or devices.

Metro also reported five homicides in 2012 compared to one in 2011.

The agency said crime at Metro’s parking lots was at an all-time low for the past 10 years.

On its bus system, Metro said pickpockets and snatchings were also up. Metro has hired 52 new transit police officers and plans to use 32 of the officers as increased security on Metro’s buses, where drivers have seen a rash of incidents of rock-throwing at vehicles and being spit on and attacked by riders. The rest of the new officers will be for Metro’s new Silver Line and for its anti-terrorism security team.

The transit agency also said it received 99 complaints of sexual harassment. It has been criticized for not taking such complaints seriously and had launched a public relations campaign to encourage riders to report such incidents.

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Lori Aratani · February 11, 2013

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