Evan Ducharme/The S.f. ExaminerMayor Ed Lee advises riders to stay alert on Muni at a news conference Thursday.

Police increasing Muni presence during holidays to stanch thefts

More police will be patrolling Muni in time for the holiday season — and some of those officers might even interrupt you while you’re engrossed in your technology.

During Thursday’s announcement, Police Chief Greg Suhr declined to reveal how many additional officers will be on the system, saying he did not want to reveal crime-fighting strategies to criminals. But he insisted there will be “plenty of cops and they’ll be everywhere” during the holiday season, advising folks to pay more attention to their surroundings, among other things.

Both uniformed and plainclothes officers will be on buses, light-rail vehicles and platforms, and in stations, Suhr said.

More attention will be paid to areas highly trafficked by shoppers, such as Union Square and the downtown Market Street corridor.

“We want your gifts to make it to who they’re intended for, not [into] the hands of some opportunistic thief,” Suhr said.

The increased police presence will reportedly last through at least the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30. A $1 million Department of Homeland Security grant is paying for the changes, and due to staffing shortages the money will be used to pay for overtime.

One of the main reasons for additional eyes on Muni is to prevent mobile technology thefts, which reportedly account for two-thirds of all robberies in The City.

The grant will also pay for a public awareness campaign on Muni regarding cellphones. The Eyes Up, Phones Down initiative will warn riders of the dangers of being engrossed in electronics.

Alert and engaged riders “can participate in helping us get to zero crimes on Muni,” Mayor Ed Lee said Thursday.

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