Police say pickpockets see green on Black Friday

Black Friday is Green Friday for The City’s criminal element who turn the day into one of the busiest for pickpockets, according to police.

Beginning today, the Police Department, transit agencies and stores will be on high alert for pickpockets who turn the holiday season into open season on wallets and purses across The City.

“There is quite abit of pickpocketing that actually takes place on Muni and BART [and] any place that is crowded,” San Francisco police Lt. Kenwade Lee said. “Mainly it’s a lot of women and men with bags over their shoulder or backpacks.”

The Police Department will increase its presence of uniformed officers and undercover officers patrolling stations along Market Street and Union Square, according to police Lt. Joe Garrity. He said The City sees a rise in pickpockets mainly on public transit lines frequented by tourists in the summer and on lines that run near shopping centers in the winter.

Muni and BART will both increase enforcement during the holiday season, especially on lines that run to main shopping corridors. Muni spokesman Alan Siegal said the 38 line into Union Square and the 30 and 45 lines through Chinatown have historically been the most active for the pickpockets because of the large crowds. Muni riders who notice that their wallets are missing are encouraged to tell their drivers about the incident because they can call for help, according to Siegal.

BART spokesman Jim Allison said riders should be careful about where their belongings are at all times and limit the amount of items they carry on public transport.

Lee said shoppers should be aware of their surroundings, carry only one credit card and leave their checkbooks and Social Security cards at home.

“Put a rubber band around your wallet or purse because it catches on your clothes when someone tries to pull it out,” Garrity said. “It’s a good, old frugal Irish trick.”

Pickpockets

Tips for shoppers to protect themselves from pickpockets

» Put a rubber band around your wallet so if someone tries to steal it the wallet will get caught against your clothes.

» Carry your wallet in your front pocket. Women should carry their purses in front of them.

» Carry minimal cash and only one credit card that is not a debit card.

» Do not put belongings under your seat when riding public transit.

-Sources: SFPD, Muni, BART

sfarooq@examiner.com

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