More Electronic Gadgets Prompt 12% Theft Spike on Portland Transit


A run of electronic-device thefts fueled a 12-percent spike in serious crimes on Oregon’s largest transit system in Portland, The Oregonian reports. Officials blame the increasing popularity of iPhones, iPads, Androids and other high-tech mobile devices among commuters for fueling much of the increase. Said Transit Police Commander Mike Crebs, “Every time there’s a new gadget, people buy it and others want it.”

It appears that Portland’s TriMet system has a higher crime rate than transit agencies in much larger cities such as Los Angeles or Boston. Every time Apple debuts a new iPhone model, New York City police said they see a noticeable acceleration in subway thefts. Two weeks ago, San Francisco unveiled “be smart with your smartphone” posters on Muni buses, showing a shadowy figure hovering over a woman holding an iPhone. Often, Crebs said, thieves “grab and run,” snatching devices from riders who are absorbed in their music, an electronic book or a game of “Draw Something.” Many bus and light rail riders, he said, leave their smartphones and iPads exposed on seats or open bags. “There’s also more robberies where people walk up and say, ‘Give me your phone,'” Crebs said. “Say no and they’ll physically remove it.”

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