Transit District 23: Avoid Cell Phone Theft

With the theft of electronics on the rise throughout New York City subways, community affairs officers from Transit District 23 – serving the A line – have offered tips to protect your personal belongings while traveling on the trains.

Captain Rob Cruz said that people should always be careful when using electronics on the trains, but stressed that commuters pay extra attention to their surroundings now that the new iPhone 5 now available.

“People should always check what’s around them, and try not to take out their expensive electronics on the train because they may become a target,” Cruz said.

One way Cruz suggested people can avoid being targets is by avoiding using phones near train doors. He said that when subway passengers use their phones by the train doors, a thief can time their theft with the closing of the doors. This would allow them to escape with the phone, preventing the passengers from pursuing them.

“If at all possible, avoid sitting in seats near the train doors. These are prime seats for thieves to victimize people,” Cruz said.

He also warned that people should always take note of other people’s behavior. Cruz said that often times people moving from train car to train car may be casing the car looking for an easy mark.

“If something or someone doesn’t feel right to you, move to another train car where you feel safer,” he said, noting that the safest train cars are usually the conductor position and the train operator position.

And if someone needs to use their phone on the train, Cruz said it’s important to see if anyone is watching. He suggested making a playlist for music to avoid constantly exposing the phone to potential criminals.

And the most important tip Cruz said he had to offer was to avoid fighting with a thief.

“If you find yourself becoming a victim of a theft, do not fight with the perpetrator. This can escalate the crime and cause serious injury to yourself.”

He said to either call 911, or report the crime immediately to the train conductor or operator, who will then notify the authorities via radio.

People can also register their cell phones with the NYPD online, which greatly increases the chances of locating a stolen phone.


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