Metro officials held a press conference on Thursday to warn riders to be more vigilant about their iPhones, Kindles and other electronic devices following a 48 percent spike in the number of devices taken during the two-week period ending Aug. 7.
In all, thieves made off with 40 devices compared with only 27 the week before. Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik urged riders to pay attention to their surroundings.
“Get your head out of your iPhone,” he told a crowd of reporters who gathered for the Thursday afternoon press conference.
The chief released two videos (see one above) demonstrating how quickly these incidents happen.
We’ll have a separate story about thefts, but here are some statistics that are worth noting:
- In 2013, an average of 1.83 devices are taken per day. During this most recent spike that number jumped to an average at 2.86 devices per day. (Note: Metro officials review crime stats in two-week intervals).
- More than two-thirds of the victims are women, while 95 percent of the suspects are male. About 82 percent of the suspects are believed to be young adults between the ages of 14 and 20.
- Nearly 60 percent of all snatches involve Apple iPhone devices.
- Roughly 87 percent of all snatch thefts occur within the Metrorail system, while 13 percent happen on Metrobus.
- Most of the thefts have taken place in the District and Prince George’s County.
Some tips from Metro police to avoid being a victim:
- Handle your device as if it were cash. As Pavlik said at Thursday’s press conference: “You wouldn’t go around flaunting $400 in cash in your hand.”
- If you must use your device, hold it with both hands to make it harder to grab.
- Avoid using electronic devices near train or bus doors.
- Change the color of your earphones. White or red wires can be a tip off that you’re carrying expensive equipment.