With the launch of the newest iPhone product this weekend, Transit authorities are reminding MBTA riders to keep their devices close at hand.
“Anytime a new handheld technology is introduced it will spike [theft] statistics,” said Transit Police Deputy Chief Lewis Best. “These larcenies are crimes of opportunity.”
So far this year, 98 Apple products have been stolen from people while waiting at T stations.
Of those products, 58 of them were iPhones.
While the T police do a lot of regular outreach to customers riding the trains, reminding them to keep expensive products outside of view, a big push will be made later this year when more underground cell service is available.
By January, the Green and Blue lines are scheduled to be retrofitted with wireless capability, allowing people to talk and use the internet below the surface — and authorities plan to make a move when it happens.
“We have seen great results with the effects of our campaign — the whole message is don’t become distracted,” said Best. “And when carrying [a device], put it in an inside pocket or purse.”
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Best said during his 24 years on the force, it’s been a common trend to see an influx in thefts as new technologies emerge on the market.
“We have many layers of security in place, however,” he said.
Transit police will be handing out cards with tips and reminders on how to stay safe as the launch of the underground smartphone amenities draws closer.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.