According to Foxnews.com, cell phones have become a top target of robbers who use stealth, force and guns to get your smartphones.
Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are cell phone related. I believe the trend is heading this way simply because a smartphone costs in the area of $300 - $600, is easily stolen out of your car, your office or your hands and is easily concealable. I know we have had victims injured in Sandy Springs while criminals were trying to steal their cell phones.
According to the Foxnews.com article, a thief snatched a smartphone while sitting right behind his victim and was able to dart out of the bus in seconds with her cellphone in hand. Another criminal grabbed an iPhone from an oblivious bus rider while she was still talking.
In New York, more than 40% of all robberies involve cell phones and in Los Angeles, more than a quarter of their robberies involve cell phones, up 27% from last year.
Remember, smartphones contain tons of personal information that can be used against you and used to obtain all kinds of account and password information.
The situation has gotten so bad that supposedly in 2013, the FCC and major phone carriers have agreed to set up a national database to track reported stolen phones.
There are some things that you can do to protect yourself
from this crime trend:
- Keep your phone with you at all times when you are out and about. Don’t leave it in your car, don’t leave it in your office and don’t leave it on the counter of your favorite restaurant, walk away, come back 30 seconds later and be surprised when it’s not there.
- When using your phone, pay attention to your surroundings. Know who and what is going on around you. Don’t walk down the street and text, making it easy for some thug to run up behind you and rip your phone out of your hand.
- Use passwords to secure your phone. Write down the make, model and serial number. Back-up the information on your phone (check with your carrier on how to do this). Get insurance on your phone.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.