3 essential tips for keeping your smartphone or tablet safe on transit

Rider with smartphone

Do you carry a smartphone or tablet? More than half of us do these days, and with the popularity of TransitTracker, rider apps and mobile ticketing, we’re using our devices on transit more than ever. Here are some tips that can help prevent you from becoming a target for would-be thieves, and help recover your device if it is ever stolen:

1. Set up GPS tracking

Find My iPhone
If your phone or tablet is ever lost or stolen, having GPS tracking enabled can help you (and the police) find it.

If your phone or tablet is lost or stolen, having GPS tracking enabled can help you (and the police) find it. This is a quick, simple and free process for iOS and Android devices that can help police track down the thief.

2. Ride smart

The safest place for your electronic device is out of sight. Here are some safety tips if you use a phone or tablet on board:

  • Always be aware of what is happening around you.
  • Hold your device with both hands to make it more difficult to snatch.
  • Don’t use your device near train doors. Many robberies take place as the doors are closing, allowing the thief to get away.
  • White or red headphone cords are often a telltale sign that you have an expensive device. Consider changing the cord to a less conspicuous color.

3. If your device is stolen…

  • Never resist or chase a thief. No gadget is worth getting hurt!
  • Write down the thief’s description, including any identifying characteristics and clothing.
  • Immediately report to the police by dialing 911 or notify the operator or a TriMet supervisor.
  • Contact your wireless carrier. They can lock or wipe your device remotely, which makes it worthless to the thief.

Harry Saporta

As TriMet's Safety and Security Executive, I lead the agency's efforts to make safety not only a priority but a core value. I have more than 30 years of experience in the field, having worked on a number of major transit projects around the world. Most recently, I worked in Abu Dhabi as lead of the Surface Transport Safety and Security Project. I also served as director of safety and security for the Federal Transit Administration.

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