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Phone Snatchings on the Rise

 As more and more people plug in to high-tech gadgets, they put themselves at risk of getting their iPhones and Android devices stolen. The NYPD reports that 40 percent of all robberies involve cell phones.

In a recent AP article, writer Terry Collins reported two separate incidents of phone theft. “One thief recently snatched a smartphone while sitting right behind his unsuspecting victim and darted the rear of a bus in mere seconds. Another robber grabbed an iPhone from an oblivious bus rider – while she was still talking.”

So much personal information is stored on those devices that the cost of recovering lost information (unless they are backed up) is priceless. Law enforcement agencies note that thefts are costing consumers millions of dollars. In response, the federal government and major cell phone operators will launch a national database to track stolen phones sometime in 2013. Carriers recently individually launched their own databases. Once in the system, cell phone is disabled if reported stolen.

New Yorkers have a variety of options in safeguarding their valuables. Anyone can walk in to their local precinct and register their device free of charge. A recent Bloomberg Business article, reports the NYPD “stationed officers at 21 stores in the city where the iPhone 5 went on sale on Sept. 21 to help buyers register their new devices so they can be traced if stolen.” Paul Browne, a spokesman for the NYPD, states that 1,500 phones were registered on that day.

Mohammed Sabha offers some advice to the CCNY community. “Those people who take out their iPhones on the subway or anywhere in the street should be more careful,” says the 20-year-old undergrad. “Some of them just listen to music while holding their phones in their hands and it can easily be stolen because they are not paying attention as much. They should be kept in the pockets so it will not be easily stolen.”

Another tip: Keep those iconic white Apple earphones at home; it will only make you an easier target. Watch this short YouTube video and prevent it from happening to you. Be aware of your surroundings.