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Police advice for staying safe with your phone

Police advice for staying safe with your phone

Following the recent publicity about thieves targeting local (mainly young) people for their phones on the move, the Metropolitan Police at Richmond have issued borough-wide advice to residents. Much of it is common sense, but we repeat it here for your information and benefit.

“By following these crime prevention tips” says PC Georgena Jennings, “you could reduce your chances of becoming a victim of robbery and improve your chances of having stolen items recovered.”

• Pay attention to your surroundings. Walk with confidence, even if you are unfamiliar with the area. Look up, look out.
• Stick to busier, well-lit routes where possible, as these are more likely to be covered by CCTV and there will be more people around.
• Walking with your phone in your hands will distract you and you are more likely to be caught unawares. If you need to use your phone to check directions, do so before leaving a transport hub, shop or restaurant.
• Jewellery or watches are easy targets, as thieves are often trained to spot expensive items such as Rolexes and steal them on demand. Try to keep them covered up.
• Don’t leave valuables on display in a café or restaurant, especially outside. Doing so gives thieves the chance to swipe phones or wallets. Keep handbags and suitcases within touching distance at all times.
• Keep bags and purses closed and secured at all times.
• Photocopy any important documents such as passports and airline tickets which would be impossible or inconvenient to replace if stolen.
• Use the security features on your phone such as the keypad lock and fingerprint or facial recognition. Install an app such as Find My iPhone to help you locate your phone in the event of it being stolen.
• Every phone has a unique IMEI number. Find yours by keying *#06# from your phone and keep a written note of the long number on the screen. If your phone is stolen, pass it to your mobile provider to stop it being used.
• Register your phone and other property at immobilise.com. The police recover more than 2,500 items a month registered to the website.
• If you become a victim of robbery, report it as soon as possible so that the police can get to the scene and conduct a search of the area, giving them the best chance of finding the suspects and recovering your possessions. They can also take an account from you while details are still fresh in your mind. The longer you wait to report, the fewer investigative opportunities there will be.

“We don’t want to make you paranoid” says PC Jennings, “but we do want to make you aware.” As a further reassurance to local people, the Met has recently formed a Burglary and Robbery Team which now operates across the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Merton and Wandsworth.

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