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San Francisco’s Mayor Suggests Bus Riders Read Paper Books to Deter Electronic Theft

In attempt to deter electronic theft, San Francisco’s  Mayor, Ed Lee, and the city’s Police Chief, Greg Suhr, are urging readers to use paper books. The campaign, named Eyes Up, Phones Down, is hoping to reduce the city’s prevalent electronic thefts to zero.

In a statement, Suhr suggested that paper books were not targets for thieves, and therefore, much safer for public transit:

Nobody’s stealing books. If people would read a book while they’re on Muni instead of looking at their electronic device, we could get our robberies down to nothing.

Be smart, don’t make it available.

The increased police presence will help to prevent theft as well as violent crimes. In September of this year, Muni riders on their smartphones were completely oblivious to a gun-wielding passenger, who eventually shot and killed a student exiting the bus. Even bus stops are not safe. Earlier this year, a passenger was pepper-sprayed in the face while waiting for a bus.

Currently, the city’s police officers are required to ride Muni twice each shift, in uniforms and in plainclothes. To increase police presence, the city is using a $1 million Homeland Security Grant to fund 10,000 extra patrol hours as well as an outreach program to boost awareness. The multilingual campaign includes these tips for riding on the city’s transit vehicles:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Avoid engaging in cell phone conversations while on transit.
  • Keep your cell phone and/or other devices in a pocket, purse or backpack.
  • Do not walk and text.
  • Never loan your cell phone to a stranger.
  • If your cell phone is lost or stolen, immediately report the loss to your service provider and the police.
  • Password protect your phone.
  • Write down your model number, serial number and unique device ID.
  • On most phones, you can dial *#06# and the International Mobile Equipment Identifier or IMEI number will show up on your screen, or remove the battery for IMEI and serial number.
  • Use a location tracking app or anti-theft app.

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