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Crime Down On San Francisco's Muni, Cellphone Theft Down 77 Percent

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Riding on Muni may be safer than ever before. A new report shows crime on the transit system has gone down 30 percent since October, and cellphone thefts are down more than 70 percent.

Virtually every Muni rider has a story.

"I've seen a theft happen, where someone is sitting down, just looking at their device, and someone just flies out, and there is nothing that person can do," Muni rider Danielle LaFort told KPIX 5.

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But things have changed over the past 12 months.

"Overall, crime has gone down 30 percent. And mobile devices has gone down about 77 percent," said Paul Rose of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

And this is why. San Francisco police officers are now riding buses and trains on a regular basis.

"Makes all the difference in the world," said Commander Mikail Ali. "You can look at the faces of people, they're happy to have us here. In the presence of police officers on our trains and on our buses, in and of itself is a huge deterrent."

The officers are riding on transit, courtesy of a $1 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. It will pay for upwards of 10,000 hours in overtime for cops to ride. That's just for the year, but Muni is hoping it will continue.

"We've started the process to get additional grants from Homeland Security," Rose said. "It's something that's likely."

Here's what police say: Eyes up, phones down. And here are their tips when they aren't around.

Dont stand next to a door and stare at your phone because somebody can just grab it, and run out of the door.

Don't be so engrossed in your phone that you don't even notice what's going on.

The best advice, though, is don't use your phone on the train. Just enjoy the ride. Take a nap. But don't miss your stop.

The exact number of officers, and the lines they are riding are being kept quiet, to help with the element of surprise in finding thieves.

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