Following on from our previous posts related to street crime and robbery – 15th Aug (e-scooters), 25th Aug (high value timepieces) and 30th Aug (Instabragging). I was talking to a friend of mine last week whose daughter had fallen victim to a phone snatch whilst talking on it in central London.
My friend was keen to know my ex-policeman thoughts on the subject. I explained to him that I would prefer not to use my mobile at all while out and about but due to my work it is a vital tool that I use regularly. I went on to explain to him that I utilise an earpiece so to avoid talking directly into the handset, this allows me to remain situationally aware of my surroundings and keep the device secure in my clothing only exposing my £19 earpiece to would-be thieves and not my desirable I-Phone 13. The only downside is I often get the odd look from people around me who think I’m talking to myself.
If you, like me, need to utilise your phone in busy public areas the use of an earpiece is something to consider, especially as mobile phones will remain a desirable item for thieves and these type of crimes are on the rise. We have seen increased reports of electric bicycles being used to perpetrate snatch thefts, sometimes in groups, with some criminals dressing as Deliveroo or other well-known delivery company riders, so victims do not suspect them as they cycle close to them on pavements.
A few suggestions on keeping your phone safe:
- Hide your phone away when you are not using it, do not leave it unattended
- Keep it locked, this way thieves cannot access your personal information
- Be aware of your surroundings when using your phone outdoors – try to avoid using your phone in public (texting and voice). If you do, move to a safe area and keep checking your surroundings
- Consider using a Bluetooth headset (earpiece)
- Be vigilant – criminals are counting on you being distracted by your phone, so you do not notice them as they approach. Look out for bikes, mopeds and e-scooters especially if they ride on the pavement
- Train or tube – try to avoid taking your phone out when you leave transport hubs. These are hotspots for criminals as they know people often check their phones when their signal returns
Update your security settings: note down your phone’s IMEI number (which you can find in your settings or by entering *#06# on the dial screen). If stolen call your service provider and ask them to block your phone so criminals cannot access your personal information.
It is worth updating your security settings so you can remotely block your phone. You can set up the tracking app ‘Find my iPhone’ or similar on Android, which may help Police to locate your phone. Please do not attempt to track your phone yourself, as confronting a criminal could be dangerous.