Police registered 12,625 cases of theft on public transport in Brussels between 2014 and 2017, or more than 3,000 a year, according to figures from the Brussels agency for prevention and security.
The main locations for thefts, which include pickpocketing and purse-snatching, are the North and South stations and busy junctions like De Brouckère.
On the move, meanwhile, thieves tend to prefer trams and metros.
Thefts account for 66% of all police complaints related to public transport. At the same time, public transport is the location for one in three of all opportunistic thefts.
The public transport authority Stib has the problem in its sights, according to spokesperson Cindy Arents.
“Staff present in our stations are there to ensure the safety of passengers,” she said. “The places were thieves most often strike are under special surveillance, and we have guidelines that must be followed when these opportunistic thieves are sighted.”
According to figures produced by the federal police last year, Brussels is far ahead of the rest of the country for thefts such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching.
For 2018, there were 13,716 cases in Brussels – including but not limited to public transport. By comparison, the figures for Flanders were 7,775 and for Wallonia 4,758 in 2018.
And in those two regions, the numbers were in decline, whereas the number of cases in Brussels was on the rise, from 10,680 in 2017.