Bus

TriMet police reduce smartphone thefts

Posted on April 26, 2013

Portland, Ore.-based TriMet and the Transit Police Division (TPD) are cautiously optimistic this spring won’t see a repeated spike in smartphone robberies on the transit system.

The anticipated reduction can be attributed to the hard work of two TPD officers, credited with thwarting the group behind the majority of the smartphone robberies last year.

After a sharp increase in smartphone snatches last April and May, TPD increased patrols, conducted undercover missions, scoured TriMet security cameras and video and dedicated two officers to investigate the robberies.

This type of robbery, also referred to as “Apple Picking” due to the popularity of iPhones, is a crime of opportunity centered particularly around public transportation where groups of people gather and are often distracted with their phones. Transit agencies across the country have seen smartphone robberies jump.

Transit Police officers Kristi Butcher and Brandon Gentry received Achievement Awards from the Portland Police Bureau for their investigation that broke up a smartphone robbery ring. Most were minors.

Transit police officers Kristi Butcher and Brandon Gentry spent more than 190 hours reviewing TriMet security video and saw suspects conducting surveillance on their victims. In many cases, the suspects would pass by the victim several times, getting closer and closer, waiting for the opportunity to strike. They often grabbed the phone out of a victim’s hand and ran before the owner could even react.

Officers Butcher and Gentry were recently honored with Achievement Awards from the Portland Police Bureau for their work that was pivotal in solving the majority of the robberies. Butcher, Gentry and their fellow Transit Police officers made 53 arrests in 49 cases during a span of nine months. Many of the suspects were involved in multiple robberies. Those arrested ranged in age from 15 to 18, and many knew each other.

During the increase in robberies, TriMet put out reminders to riders to keep an eye on their electronic devices. “Protect your stuff” posters went up in buses and trains, and reminders were sent out via social media and email.

Transit Police and TriMet’s Safety and Security Executive, Harry Saporta, have a message for anyone who might think about reprising the smartphone snatches this spring or committing any crime on TriMet: We’re watching you.

“We have cameras on our buses, trains and platforms,” said Saporta. “You do something wrong and we have you on video. Our transit police officers use those images to track you down and TriMet will make sure you are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

There are a number of “Find my phone” mobile apps that could help if a smartphone is snatched, according to TriMet. If such an app is installed on the phone, it could help police not only find it, but track down the culprit as well.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

AVTA to become nation's first 100% electric bus fleet

BYD Motors will build and deliver a variety of all-electric bus models including a 40-foot low-floor transit bus, a 60-foot low-floor articulated bus, and a 45-foot commuter coach.

Bridj, KCATA, Ford partner for urban mobility pilot project

The transformative program is the first U.S. public-private partnership that brings together a major U.S. transit agency, an automaker and an urban technology company with the aim of enhancing Kansas City’s existing mass transit system by providing greater access and mobility to residents.

L.A. Metro opens new 'green' bus facility

Division 13 will serve as a bus maintenance, operations and service facility with a multi-level parking garage that accommodates 200 CNG buses, fueling equipment, transportation offices and support areas.

Starcraft Bus named Ford's top volume pool account for 10th year

The company has purchased and sold more Ford E-Series chassis than any other bus manufacturer in North America since 2006.

Cummins announces new 'SmartEfficiency' initiative

The product improvement plan focuses on improved fuel efficiency, lower total cost of ownership and improved uptime.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close