Cell Phone Theft – Targets for Armed Robbery

There was an article on Fox news.com recently about thefts of cell phones and how they are becoming the targets of robbers who use “stealth, force and sometimes guns” to get what they want-your cell phone.

Gone are the days when a phone was just a phone. Now they house enough technology to connect you to the whole world in an instant. Smart phones these days cost in the neighborhood of $500 just for the device and will get half that amount in a pawn shop. That is why they are the targets of petty thieves.

It used to be in the good old days of five years ago, thieves and robbers would steal cash and credit cards. It was easy to report credit cards stolen and basically disable their use. And who carries cash any more? So what is a struggling crook supposed to do?

In this story that was published recently it was reported that half of the robberies in San Francisco in 2012 were cell phone related with most of them occurring on transit lines. They gave examples of people who were talking on their smart phone when a robber brazenly grabbed it from them and darted off of the bus.

And if you think it’s a localized problem, think again. “New York City police report that more than 40% of all robberies now involve cell phones “and that cell phone thefts in Los Angeles are up 27% from last year and account for more than a quarter of all the city’s robberies.”

The article went on to say that some experts estimate that smart phone losses are in the billions of dollars annually. It is a crime of opportunity for crooks looking to make a quick buck- a “snatch and grab” is the vernacular used and it can be done on foot or even on a bicycle by youths who are looking to buy marijuana or other drugs.

Imagine, if you will, walking along a busy street talking on your cell phone that just happens to be a smart phone when somebody rides up behind you on a bicycle and literally rips the phone out of your hand. It can happen so fast that there is very little you can do except remember what the person looks like or ward them off with a self-defense item such as a pepper spray.

And of course you know that these smart phones contain more than just phone numbers. They can contain addresses, bank account information and all kinds of important personal data. One recommendation is that people register the serial number of the cell phone as soon as they buy it. Another idea is that anybody who resells cell phones obtain a secondhand dealer’s license. Those dealers would need to record the phone’s identity number and collect data on the seller’s name and so on.

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