Friday, January 15, 2010

Beware of the Snatch and Dash

Click for larger/legible

According to this Metro flyer, theft of small electronic devices is on the rise. Metro police are taking steps to stem the tide.

From MP:

Around 4:45 p.m. yesterday at L 'Enfant or Metro Center (I wasn't paying close attention), I witnessed a snatch and dash robbery on the Orange Line. The robber grabbed something, probably a phone or iPod, out of the victim's hand and ran out the closing doors.

People need to be careful holding phones and iPods while standing near the doors. I don't take out my laptop unless I'm safely in the window seat, and I don't use my iPod while standing near the doors.

MTPD has a plainclothes robbery division, and they have made about 90 arrests since May, when they started. They've noticed few, if any, reoffenders/rearrests. They report that robberies are down 10 percent from November to December, and their goal is another 10 percent decrease.

Have you been a victim of a snatch and dash or worse? Have you seen one take place? Do you take steps to avoid being robbed?

Catoe rundown:
Metro's resigning manager inherited funding and board problems (WaPo/editorial)
John Catoe's surprise resignation leaves Metro in a jam (WaPo/editorial)
Examiner story on Catoe's resignation
Union leader's take (DCist)


Anonymous said...

i see people every day waving around expensive blackberries and iphones, barely holding onto them. you're asking for it.

Anonymous said...

Be aware of your surroundings, chances are, you're being sized up as a potential victim. Do whatever business you need to do with your phone and then get it back in the bag or in your pocket.

A.Smith said...

A friend of mine had her purse stolen, once. She had it sitting on her lap and was in one of those solo seats by the doors. We all know what happened.

Ironically, she hit the red button that there's so many reports on of not working and for whatever reason, the train operator stopped the train and re-opened the doors. She chased the guys down and got her purse back.

April said...

Yeah, this kind of story is why I use black earbuds, run the cord underneath my coat or jacket, and clip the iPod to my waistband. One podcast usually lasts for most of my commute, so I rarely have to fuss with changing tracks.

I usually hide the earbuds even more by running the cord behind my back instead of across the front of my body, so I can keep the cord and earbuds underneath my long hair.

For a little while, I had Bluetooth headphones so that there was no cord at all, but (a) they hurt, (b) they announce that I'm also carrying at least one Bluetooth-ready device and (c) I kinda looked like a dick.

Anonymous said...

When riding Metro, I keep my iPod in my inner coat pocket and I hold onto the bag in my lap.

Anonymous said...

I try to make my little iPod as inconspicuous as possible. Winter is easier since I wear a scarf which hides my ears (and earbuds) along with the cord. I always put it away while the train is in motion before my last stop. All bags and sundries are held close and wrapped around wrists. I try to show that if you want to snatch from me you will get a tug-of-war and delays which you won't want with those doors shutting. (I also kick well from a sitting position.) Never wear em at all if I am stuck near the doors. How sad is it we have to think this way in America.

Anonymous said...

I don't have an iPod, iPhone or laptop. I like to read when I travel, and thugs aren't interested in stealing books.

Anonymous said...

I like not living in fear. I listen to my iPhone openly and change the tracks when I want to, I even play games on it. I'm lucky enough that if someone steals it I can get another one. Sure it sucks to have to get a new one, but I've dealt with those emotions already. I had one safely tucked into my pocket and it fell out without my realzing it. In my opinion, losing an iPone is way worse than having one stolen.

John Jay said...

Geez people, living in fear on the Metro? Hold on tight to your ipod, and be aware of your surroundings. Its as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I lock my iPhone, and most of the time read a library book. I try to be aware of my surroundings checking my email in those sweet spots in some stations. Once on the green line I saw a couple of guys getting frustrated trying to guess the password to an iPod Touch/iPhone.

Ben said...

My friend got into a tug-o-war with a snatch and dasher who ended up only getting 1/2 of a pair of headphones. It was rather funny at the time. My friend and I laughed.

Anonymous said...

These crimes are much less likely to happen if basic common sense is practiced on metro. If you have an expensive device; protect it with a password prior to going out in public. Hold purses/bags in your lap while on the train. Holding them means 1-they're better protected and 2-they're out of other people's way. It's a win-win situation. Be aware of the area where you're going as well and plan accordingly. If you're going to a game or other crowded event-why take a huge purse or bag? Take a small bag with the essentials you can clip to a belt or inside a jacket or pocket. If your essentials can't fit in a smaller container, you probably don't need to take metro! Nothing's worse than large bags, etc taking up too much space on the train (well, except strollers, that is). :-)

Anonymous said...

Anyone else enjoy the racial play in the pictures? Black victim, white thief? Yep, I bet that's REAL common. I would love to see stats on snatch and dash robberies on metro. Like all robberies in DC, virtually 100% are committed by black teenage boys.

Feel free to put your head in the sand, but facts are facts.

Dan said...

@ Anonymous 10:30 AM

What a delightfully ignorant thing to say.

Jon said...


Are you seriously going to suggest that the race of the actors was completely unintentional? It was VERY clearly done to avoid allegations of racism. After all, white people are more likely to be amused by the disconnect than offended by a stereotype that doesn't exist for them.

That said, yeah, Anonymous' tone sounds a little on the racist side. Hard to say for sure, though.

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