‘Getting off the train, she also took other people’s belongings’: number of thefts on trains increases in Volga Region
As Realnoe Vremya found out, there has been an increase in thefts on long-distance and suburban trains in Russia. Experts attribute this to the increased number of trips and the development of domestic tourism — citizens have begun to travel more often around the country. Besides, the indicators are returning to the pre-pandemic values. Since the beginning of the year, 64 thefts have been revealed in the Volga region alone, of which five crimes were registered by employees of the Kazan Linear Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia on Transport. Mostly smartphones, laptops, and other electronics are stolen from passengers, less often — money and material valuables. It happens that passenger car attendant also become victims of thieves. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
“The company is not responsible for passengers' personal belongings”
The problem of theft on trains remains relevant. Sometimes passengers do not even immediately notice them and find out the loss of their belongings only when they begin to prepare for the exit at the right station. At the beginning of the trip, everyone is asked to keep documents and material valuables with them, not to leave them in lain site, nevertheless crimes happen.
For example, passenger car attendant Alina, who works on long-distance trains on the route Tatarstan-Crimea, said that although there were no thefts in her shifts yet, but it happened to her colleagues:
“A young woman's laptop was stolen once. She left her bag when she got off at the station to smoke. After a while she returned, but the bag was gone, someone from the passengers took it. They looked at the cameras, the police were connected. As a result, the bag was found and handed over to the young woman," said an employee of the railway.
According to Alina, in case of theft, first of all, attendants are obliged to report to the authorities. Escorts sometimes travel with them: police officers, transport security service employees often walk around the cars.
“All your personal belongings that have some value for you, you need to hide or carry with you in a purse, hand-held bag. Remember, the company is not responsible for passengers' personal belongings," the attendant notes.
However, this applies not only to passengers' belongings, but also to the property of the carrier itself. As the employees of the railway say, people are not stopped even by that the attendant is aware of what this or that person took from him, they still “take it with themselves”.
So, Vladislav, an attendant, who works on trains in the same direction from Grand Service Express private company, often faced theft of property:
“The question of theft in our company is raised quite often. I personally had to deal with this and even prevent it. They always steal a blanket, a glass, a cup holder. As soon as there cames a new shift — they steal something. I find out this during transfers, as soon as I recalculate everything. For example, I gave you a cup holder, after some time you get off at a station, maybe before the one you need, after which I go to collect your bed linen and immediately indicate that you took the cup holder, if you didn't give it to me back, of course.”
Number of thefts has been growing for 3 years
As reported to Realnoe Vremya in the Transport Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Volga Federal District, 64 thefts of citizens' property committed on long-distance and suburban trains have been registered in the Volga region since the beginning of the year.
If we study the statistics for the last 3 years, we can notice a trend of growth in the number of property crimes on the railway: by the results of 2022, 189 train thefts were registered (+14,55%), 2021 — 165 (+22,22%), 2020 — 135. However, this rather suggests that Russians have begun to travel more by rail, besides, the figures are returning to pre-pandemic indicators — for example, 205 such crimes were committed in 2019.
Since the beginning of the year, five train thefts have been registered in the Kazan Linear Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia on Transport (for 12 months of 2022 — 9, 2021 — 16, 2020 — 12, 2019 — 24).
Basically, the objects of criminal encroachment are mobile gadgets (phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches), including those left unattended while charging in the vestibule or compartment of the car, the Transport Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the Volga Federal District reported:
“On May 12, a passenger turned to an attendant of the Moscow-Chelyabinsk train and reported that his mobile phone was missing on the way. The attendant, in turn, passed the message to the transport police. The police on the same day identified a suspect in the theft — a 37-year-old man who had been convicted several times before. The stolen phone has been seized and will be returned to the owner.”
According to transport police officers, money or passengers' belongings are less likely to become the prey of intruders: “For example, on May 14, on the Moscow-Volgograd train, one of the passengers had her personal belongings stolen — a gift set of perfumes. The applicant estimated her loss at 5,5 thousand rubles. Transport police officers identified the suspect in the theft within a few hours. It turned out to be a passenger of the same train, who, getting off in the Ilovlya station, she also took other people's things with her. The stolen items have been seized and will be returned to the owner.”
The steal railway property as well
The Transport Department confirmed that rolling stock workers also periodically become victims of property crimes. For example, in February, a device for monitoring the legitimacy of electronic tickets was stolen from an attendant of the Novy Urengoy-Kazan train:
“Outwardly, this special device looks like a regular smartphone, which is probably why it attracted the attention of the attacker. The citizen who committed the theft of the device was identified by the transport police. A criminal case has been initiated under Part 1 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation," the department reported.
Experts also added that train thefts, with rare exceptions, are successfully solved by transport police officers (the detection rate of such crimes in the district is higher than the national average): “It is important to remember that the sooner a crime is reported to the police, the sooner it will be solved. And the sooner the stolen property will be returned to its rightful owner.”
The Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for the Volga Federal District is stationed on the territory of 20 subjects of Russia, including 14 subjects that are part of the Volga Federal District. The objects of railway transport of three railways: Gorkovskaya, Kuibyshevskaya, and Provolzhsaya, the operational length of which is more than 15 thousand kilometres, are under the operational maintenance of linear divisions. There are 119 railway stations, 420 passenger stations, 505 stations with passenger rooms on these roads. Besides, there are 329 stations with cargo sorting operations. The average daily number of freight trains running is 1,447, long-distance passenger trains — 718, commuter trains — 637.
The length of the lines of the Gorkovkaya and Kuibyshevskaya railways in the area of responsibility of the Kazan Linear Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for transport is 913 km, this includes 66 stations, 93 stopping points, 118 landing platforms, 6 locomotive depots, 4 wagon depots, 2 oil loading stations, 9 fuel storage facilities on the territory of two subjects of Russia — Tatarstan and Kirov Oblast. The main part of the serviced transport facilities is on the territory of our republic. The Kazan railway junction has always been one of the largest in the country. Every day, more than 100 suburban trains depart and arrive in the Kazan region, which carry up to 22 thousand people per day.
You are a victim of theft, what should one do?
What if you are still among the victims of train thieves? Lawyers also advise you to contact the police as soon as possible. But, according to experts, the main problem in the investigation of such crimes on trains is that the very appeal to the police may not always be momentary. Victims often discover the loss of their belongings and money a long time after the commission of the crime, do not immediately inform the attendants or police officers about it, which, of course, makes it much more difficult to solve the crime. Sometimes, victims report theft after arriving at the final station, when there are practically no traces of the criminal and the stolen person. That is, there comes a situation when the crime will not be solved “in hot pursuit”.
As the specialist notes, it is mandatory to indicate in the application (if possible) exactly when and where the theft could have occurred. If the victim has an understanding of when exactly it happened, then it is necessary to clarify with the attendant where the train was located geographically according to the schedule at that time. This is necessary in order to consolidate the territorial jurisdiction of a particular police unit and avoid delays in initiating a criminal case.