Thieves will often target individuals who are walking alone and distracted by phones or other electronic devices. A simple yet effective strategy to avoid being robbed is to maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times. Other prevention tips include:
- Walk with confidence. Keep your head up and know where you are going.
- Limit distractions. Store mobile phones and other valuables out of sight and remove your headphones.
- Call a friend. Let someone know where you are going.
- Stay visible. Stick to well-lit areas and don’t wear dark clothing at night.
- Only essentials. Carry only the necessary identification, money, or cards that you need.
- Keys ready. Have your car or house keys ready before you reach the door.
If you are approached, verbally threatened or physically assaulted you can avoid further confrontation by giving the perpetrator the property they want. Do not engage in the altercation as it increases your chance of getting physically harmed.
Try to take note of what the suspect(s) looks like and their direction of travel. Physical descriptors such as: height/weight, clothing, and visible markings like scars, tattoos or piercings can help the police in later identifying the suspect. Call police as soon as it is safe to do so.
Police have noted a trend of street robberies where mobile phones are targeted. Some additional tips for preventing mobile phone theft include:
- Avoid using your phone on the street in full view. If you have to use it, be discreet.
- Record the serial number of your phone and keep it in a safe place.
- Consider software that will remotely locate your phone using built-in GPS.
- In the event you are robbed of your phone report it to police immediately and contact your network provider so they can disconnect and prevent any unauthorized calls or texts.
- If you are purchasing a phone privately, check the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number on the phone at www.protectyourdata.ca to ensure it has not been reported lost or stolen in Canada.
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