Officials say Muni safe despite recent uptick in crimes

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- First BART, now Muni is dealing with a string of violent attacks against passengers by groups of young people.

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News of four assaults and robberies on San Francisco Muni since Sunday have a lot of commuters concerned and surprised.

"I have always felt safe," said bus rider Vinati Mishra. "You know, if you're coming back at 10:30 or 11 at night, then you have to be more careful."

But this week's crimes have all happened before sunset.

On Sunday at 8 p.m., police say two armed suspects robbed two women of their suitcases in Pacific Heights.

On Monday, police say a group of young people followed a man on two buses-- punching him and stealing his phone near Van Ness Avenue and McAllister Street.

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The next day, ABC7 News witnessed a mob of teens stealing a woman's purse on a bus in the same location.

Police say also on Tuesday three young men paintballed a bus at 10 a.m. while it was parked at Mission and Caesar Chavez streets, when the driver got out of her bus, one of the suspects shot her several times with paintballs.

"We are certainly aware of the incidents that have occurred over the last week, they are high profile," said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose. "But they don't necessarily reflect what we've seen in the crime trends over the last few years."

SFPD and SFMTA say despite this week's rash of crime, Muni is safe. The city's transportation agency says since 2013 Muni crime has gone down from 12 incidents per 100,000 miles to five incidents.

"Our investigators are always looking for a common thread," Rose added.

RELATED: Dozens of teens rush Oakland BART train, rob passengers

The past three months, there have been a number of similar assaults and robberies committed by large groups of teens on BART trains. SFPD says they are working with other local law-enforcement agencies like BART police to examine crime patterns.
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