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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mayor Ed Lee Spends $1 Million to Try and Get Muni Passengers to Hang Up Their Phones

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 5:03 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Edwin M. Lee announces "Eyes Up, Phones Down" at a press conference Thursday. - JONATHAN RAMOS
  • Jonathan Ramos
  • Mayor Edwin M. Lee announces "Eyes Up, Phones Down" at a press conference Thursday.

It's rather intuitive: If you can just stop texting for one second and start paying attention to the hungry criminals hovering around you on Muni, then you'll probably decrease your chances of being their next victim.

So says Mayor Ed Lee who today launched his new crime-fighting campaign dubbed "Eyes Up, Phones Down." Mayor Lee secured a $1 million grant from The Department of Homeland Security for his new initiative, which he says should reduce crime on city buses within in next six years.

Muni riders already know that cellphone crime is rampant on Muni. But clearly, it's going to take a bunch more cops and even more money to truly tackle the crime.

"San Franciscans are being victimized for their mobile devices at an alarming rate," said District Attorney George Gascón. "While we continue to press smartphone manufacturers to implement theft deterrent features that will safeguard consumers, it is vital that Muni riders stay alert in public places."

Mayor Lee said that robberies on Muni dropped by 51 percent between September and October after Muni put more cops around stations. In September, there were 51 reported robberies on the bus system, which dropped to nine robberies reported in October. In addition, incidents of larceny declined from 80 reported on the system in September to 26 reported incidents in October, according to Muni.

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr chimed in on this media show, saying "I can often be half-kiddingly quoted that nobody is stealing books -- If people would read a book while they're on Muni instead of looking at their electronic device, we can get our robberies down to nothing."

That's assuming commuters aren't using their E-book.

  • Setting aside his literary desires for San Francisco, Suhr went ahead and came up with a much more realistic set of demands for Muni riders:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.

  • Avoid engaging in cell phone conversations while on transit.

  • Keep your cell phones 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 phone is lost or stolen, immediately report the loss to your service provider and the police.

Consider yourself warned.

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About The Author

Jonathan Ramos


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