A menace feared by almost every phone owner today.
Opportunist thieves, usually on bikes, cycle around busy spots and look for easy victims to snatch a phone out of their hands.
Busy places like bus stops, outside of pubs, pedestrian areas, all of which have easy cyclist access are among those targeted.
All the thief looks out for is
how you stand, how they can get away, how easy it is to snatch your phone without being pulled off their bikes. or if on foot, how quick they can run off without being caught.
Of course, we all do it, check for messages, use the taxi app, banking app, the map, answer and make calls. That is what a phone is for.
Other thieves are targeting known users of luxury phone brands and do not shy away from using threats to life to get the phone handed over.
Question is what can we do to avoid falling victim to a phone snatcher. The answer isn’t easy.
Victim blaming is never a good idea but we need to think how we can prevent the phone being taken.
For many, the value of the phone is secondary to the tragic loss of personal photos and files and the whole inconvenience of having to buy a new phone.
First principle always has to be your personal safety.
What solutions are available?
- CCTV is only useful if the perpetrator is known and can be clearly seen and identified.
- Rendering the phone useless after it has been stolen is not currently available because if it was, the thefts would stop, unless of course thieves steal phones for their material value.
- Targeting known re-sale outlets (this was successfully implemented by police for stolen bikes)
In the meantime, how can we prevent our phone being stolen?
- Always be alert
- never hold your phone away from your body whilst holding it in one hand
- Prior to looking at apps, check the area around you, if necessary stand in a less approachable position or area.
- Keep the phone inside a bag, so it cannot be seen
- Use smart water to mark your phone
If your phone has been stolen always immediately report to police, to your phone service provider and all banks and related institutions connected to your phone use.
Most people do not have the presence of mind to remember the details of the thieve as they concentrate on their phone at the moment of theft.