NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting the word out to straphangers to stay alert and keep their cell phones and other electronic devices out of sight when riding the subway.

The agency has released a 30-second public service announcement showing a dramatization of bold suspects running up to straphangers during rush hour and grabbing devices right out of their hands and then vanishing.

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The PSA warns that the best way to avoid being a victim is to keep electronic devices out of sight.

In 2011, robberies on the subway surged 23 percent from the year before.

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Last year, the NYPD deployed dozens of undercover officers into the subways to catch thieves who snatch people’s cell phones, iPods and iPads.

The NYPD also offers help even before you become a victim.  People can bring their portable electronic devices to any precinct to get an ID numbers etched on it, that way if it does get stolen, it will be easier to find.

Watch the PSA below:

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