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Posted at 2:02 PM ET, 02/24/2011

VRE warns about electronics thefts

By Washington Post Editors

Virginia Railway Express warned its passengers Thursday afternoon to exercise care when using electronics devices on public transit.

The warning cited recent reports about the growth in robberies of iPods, smartphones and other devices. A recent Metro report said robberies have increased on the transit system from 39 8in 2006 to 1,007 last year, fueled in part by the proliferation of the devices. Other transit systems, such as New York City's subways, have also seen a rise.

VRE officials said the commuter rail service "has not experienced any such crime at our stations or on our trains." However, officials warned of the need for vigilance everywhere, and offered the following advice, which mirrored counsel extended by Metro to its riders:

-- Do not draw attention to expensive electronics.
-- Carry electronics in a pocket or a concealed location.
-- Keep the volume low if you have headphones or earbuds on so you can hear what's happening around you.
-- Report suspicious activity to conductors or engineers or call 911. Riders can use intercom buttons in rail cars to alert train crews.

VRE also noted that riders may have noticed occasional security teams on trains consisting of armed U.S. marshals, Transportation Security Administration officers and local law enforcement. The teams are not a response to a specific threat. "Their role is unpredictable law enforcement presence with a focus on deterrence," VRE said.

What advice do you have about using electronics on Metro or other transit systems? Post a comment below.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 24, 2011; 2:02 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Virginia Railway Express  
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I recall seeing an ad in New York once that noted that the white earbud headphones that Apple provides with iPods and iPhones, and that many people assume they're required to use, are essentially an advertisement to thieves. If you replace them with another style, you get two benefits: (1) not as obvious what you're using; (2) you can find headphones that are far more comfortable than those awful earbuds.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 24, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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