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Campaign to keep railway travellers safe from thieves
8:00pm Saturday 24th August 2013 in News
Police have launched a campaign to keep rail passengers in the Bradford district safe from pickpockets, gadget grabbers and luggage thieves.
Thefts of hi-tech devices, such as smartphones, are on the increase, and British Transport Police yesterday began Operation Magnum to help travellers look after their valuables.
The initiative includes the issuing of video clips to help passengers spot 13 most common tricks used by thieves. Officers will also be holding anti-theft surgeries at rail stations.
There have been several incidents of theft on the Bradford rail network recently. A man placed his phone on the seat next to him on a train from Bradford Interchange to Blackpool. He fell asleep and woke to find it gone.
Another victim had his wallet stolen after he left it next to the ticket office window at Ilkley booking office while he made a call on his phone.
A third had his wallet stolen from the pocket of his jacket, which he had left on the back of his seat on a journey from Halifax to Bradford.
BTP inspector Richard Price, who covers the Bradford area, said: “Thefts on the rail network are very rarely opportunistic. They are committed by determined thieves whose sole intention is to steal from other passengers.
“While crime on the rail network is down for the ninth successive year, theft of passenger property has been a real challenge for us this year, particularly with the rise in thefts of smartphones and other hi-tech devices.
“The increase includes organised pickpocketing and luggage thefts, which is why we’re running Operation Magnum across the West Yorkshire area.
“We’ll use a range of tactics to create a really difficult environment for criminals to operate in, including intelligence-led patrols by uniformed officers and plain-clothes theft squad detectives across the Bradford area.
“Thieves operating on the rail network should know that they will be caught and dealt with, no matter where they are operating.
“However, Operation Magnum is also about education.
“We want the public to watch our videos and know how to best look after their property on crowded trains.
“Top tips include keeping your luggage close by and checking on it regularly, keeping your valuables hidden if you are going to sleep and always zipping up any hand or shoulder bags.
“Unsurprisingly, mobile phones are a popular target for thieves, so try to keep yours hidden. Installing a tracker application on your smartphone could help trace your device if it’s stolen.”
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