Smartphone Theft On the Rise
How you can protect yourself against thieves and pickpockets.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: October 28th, 2012
f you've got a smartphone, you've probably heard that you should always be vigilant about how you flash it around—don't be too obvious with it on a busy train, don't keep your headphones in when you're walking through a shady neighborhood, etc. But now, smartphone theft is on the rise, and some cities like San Francisco are reporting that nearly half of all their robberies are related to cell phones. Depressing, isn't it?
Earlier this month in Oakland, California, City Council candidate Dan Kalb had his iPhone stolen from him at gunpoint—after he attended a neighborhood anti-crime meeting. Other thieves simply take their treasure from people who aren't paying enough attention. Some robbers become even more violent, as in the case of a 26-year-old chef at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, who was killed after robbers took his iPhone while he was on his way home to the Bronx.
Show how can you protect yourself against theft?
Some cities, like San Francisco, are reporting that nearly half of all robberies are related to cell phones.
One way that police have been suggesting smartphone owners avoid hostile situations is by registering their cell phone serial numbers with their local police department, so that in the event of theft the phones may be tracked.
Unfortunately there aren't many methods of preventing the actual theft, but there are ways that you can make the situation an easier one for yourself in the event that someone does try (successfully) to take your phone.
First of all, remember that it's just a phone—it might be an expensive phone that you might not be able to afford to replace if it gets stolen, but having to use an "inferior" phone for a while is a lot better than getting shot, stabbed, or killed over a phone. If someone asks for it, it's usually safer to give the robber what he or she demands. Purchasing an insurance plan for your phone through your carrier usually covers theft, too, so you wouldn't be out the entire cost of the phone.
Since some cell carriers are combating theft on their own going further than deactivating just the SIM cards and deactivating the entire phone, this also (theoretically) reduces the desire to steal smartphones.
But to safeguard yourself from further strife in the event of theft, make sure your phone's settings are coordinated in such a way that no thief would have access to personal information—in other words, don't ever save your bank passwords to your phone.
As for actual physical things you can do to hopefully stave off thieves, make sure you're aware of your surroundings—take note of who is around you and what they're doing. See someone eyeballing pedestrians or transit passengers? Keep an eye on your stuff. Furthermore, since iPhones have their trademark white earbuds, it can take some attention off of you if you purchase standard black ones. Likewise, walking around with those fancy-schmancy Beats by Dre headphones may tip people off to think that those headphones are connected to an even-more-expensive phone. Aim to be less conspicuous when you're out and about, and thieves may dismiss you as a target.