Thursday, January 24, 2013

Electronic Device/iPhone safety tips

Earlier this week we informed our readers of an arrest Transit Police made regarding the robbery of an Apple iPhone. Unfortunately, thefts of smart phones/electronic devices (most notably Apple products) is a nationwide trend.  This trend often referred to as "Apple Picking" is for the most part a crime of opportunity. However there are things you can do to minimize the chances of being victimized while traveling on the T.

  • If possible avoid using your phone while on the MBTA except in cases of emergency/reporting via SeeSay or 911 
  • Conceal expensive electronic equipment 
  • Change the color of the ear buds, would be thieves look for the distinctive white ear plugs of Apple
  • Refrain from listening to music or wearing headphones while riding the system
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times especially if you are using your electronic device
  • Be aware that most robberies of electronic devices occur near the train doors
  • Be alert for staged distractions
Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan stated " public awareness campaigns are an invaluable tool in our goal to reduce thefts of iPhones and other electronic devices on the MBTA. Enforcement alone will not work, we need to remind our MBTA community they can take definitive steps to guard themselves from being victimized".  Of the 20 robberies this month, 13 have involved the theft or attempted theft of either an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.

Police Chiefs around the country, including Chief MacMillan, have been working on this important issue with the FCC and cell phone carriers. Carriers are trying to make it harder for thieves to profit from stolen mobile devices. (check out story here)

In the unfortunate event you are a victim DO NOT resist, things can be replaced. Try to stay calm, hand over your device and attempt to observe the physical characteristics of the perpetrator so you can describe him/her later. Contact the Transit Police as soon as possible (immediately if practicable) after the event and report the incident. Our detectives will work diligently to get your property back and apprehend the offender. Also, if you have not done so already please passcode protect your iPhone, enable Find My iPhone and lastly download a Remote Data Wipe for iPhone. For more information or tips to protect yourself call the Intelligence Unit at 617-222-1170.

We have attached a short video produced and published by the New York City Police Department titled "Electronic Device Safety Tips". It is only 31 seconds in length but worth the watch.

Please contact the Transit Police with any information of criminal activity that has or is occurring on the MBTA. You can do so completely anonymously via SeeSay apps for iPhone and Android users or simply text 873873.