Arie Skye, Pallad City Post

What many are calling a “crime epidemic” in Pallad City continues to spread as reports of pickpocketing incidents increase. Daily commuters and vacationing tourists who travel on public transportation are most at risk, according to recent statistics. While early morning hours, rush hour, and late evening have previously been cited as the most likely time for a pickpocket to strike, the latest available data provides no set schedule for such a theft to occur. Hot spots for pickpocket activity have been predominantly focused on commuters at various hyper light rail stations and CyberTran bus terminals across the city.

A decade ago, reports of pickpocketing were at an all-time low in Pallad City but, with the continuing rise of urban crime, it has steadily made its way back into the public eye—and into their pockets. On average, there are 300 reported pickpocket incidents a day throughout the city, with an unknown amount more that go unreported—a 20% increase from last year alone. Items such as wallets, watches, jewelry, and NetPhones have been cited as most stolen among victims.

Transit authorities have, thus far, been ineffective in curbing the thefts despite employing undercover security and gathering countless hours of surveillance footage. Transit representatives are now urging pickpocket victims to make formal police reports. This has done little to ease the public’s concerns, with the Pallad City Police Department having only successfully apprehended less than a dozen alleged pickpockets within the last six months—according to the most recent public arrest reports.

Gavin Kessler, a 33-year-old restaurant chef who commutes daily on the hyper light rail, said: “I worry every time I take the train, or the bus. I’m using public transportation because I can’t afford a vehicle but, just last week, I had my wallet stolen—and two days ago, my NetPhone, all while waiting for the train. It’s ridiculous, and the police do nothing. If it’s not a violent crime, they just don’t care.”

Rumors continue to circulate that the Pallad City Police Department has been facing increased budget cuts, along with officer shortages, despite implementing a “Fast Track” program to get more, often younger, recruits. But with a public demanding action, the PCPD may be confronted with yet another obstacle; commuters are calling for a special police task force to be assembled, strictly to combat the rampant pickpocketing activity throughout the city.

“Sure, a designated task force would be great,” agreed Kessler, “but I’m not holding my breath that the police will ever put one together.”

Victor Hardiman, the Pallad City chief of police, has yet to provide a statement regarding such a task force.

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Zen Jirakun.