MPD REMINDS SMART PHONE USERS TO PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY These days, it is impossible to walk down the street without seeing a smart phone in use. These ubiquitous, expensive devices appeal to criminals because they can be easily reprogrammed, or erased, and quickly sold for cash. Thieves are sometimes bold enough to snatch a smart phone right out of its owner’s hand while he or she is using it. People have also had their phones taken from tables while sitting at restaurants. Although the vast majority of these offenses do not involve physical harm to the victim, it is still a disconcerting trend. The MPD is reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, especially while walking down the street and talking on the phone. It is particularly important to be aware of your surroundings if you are walking alone at night. Do not leave your phone on a table while dining out, as this may also attract would-be thieves. Cell phone users should also consider how to use their phones safely. Talking and texting on a cell phone may distract you from your surroundings, and it can become downright dangerous at intersections. Please, stop texting long enough to cross a street. While you may technically have the right-of-way, as walker, you don’t stand a chance against a car. Here are some more tips for reducing your risk of becoming a victim of a robbery: Protect your Information. Make sure your phone is password protected before you walk out the door. That way, if your device is lost or stolen, no one can run up your phone bill or access your online accounts. Don’t Walk and Text. Texting while walking is dangerous, especially in crosswalks and other areas with heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Not only that, when you’re texting, you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, which make you an easy target for criminals. Pocket the Phone. Consider putting your smart phone away for a bit. If you are wearing headphones, don’t turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises. Don’t forget that ubiquitous white cord may indicate to would-be thieves that you’re carrying a certain brand of smart phone. Be Alert. Always be aware of your surroundings. Wherever you are—on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, driving, waiting for a bus or subway—stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings. Safety in Numbers. If possible, don’t walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can—there is always safety in numbers. Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave. If someone tries to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property—don’t give up your life. Report the crime to the police. Try to describe the attacker accurately. Your actions can help prevent others from becoming victims. As always, if you observe any suspicious activity, please call 911 immediately.