Parisian police are having a tough time dealing with a new wave of crime: aggravated robberies induced by the attractiveness of the latest smartphones. Coined the “I-Phone Effect,” robbers are specifically targeting travelers on Paris’ Métro and assaulting them for their smartphones. Many users are unaware and oblivious to their surroundings while commuting, making it even easier for fraudsters to catch passengers off guard and rob them. Adding insult to injury, many smartphone victims must now worry about the dissemination of their personal information since it is common to store personal financial information on cellular phones.
The Apple I-Phone is the most common target. The I-Phone can garner up to $400 on the street, especially if it is an upgraded version. Thieves cleverly proclaim they’re “going to pick Apples” and strategically target those with the Apple cell phone. Parisian police report theft without violence is up 10% on the Métro. Paris police chief Michel Gaudin reports: “almost one of every two thefts on public transport now concerns a mobile telephone, while ‘classic’ wallet or purse thefts represent only 33 percent of incidents.” The Ministry elaborated on the statistics by reporting: “2,813 objects reported stolen on Paris regional transit, 1,395 were cellphones, nearly 50 percent of the total, and of those, 64 percent were smartphones. The latest two models of the Apple iPhone made up nearly 28 percent of all stolen phones.” realme
The best way to protect yourself from theft is to recognize the thieves’ strategies and to always be aware:
- Thieves tend to snatch phones in transition periods while doors are opening and closing. Working in groups, they will target a victim, quickly snatch the phone and pass it off down a long chain of criminals. Always be sure to keep your phone securely in your purse or pocket as you exit or enter the Métro. Don’t walk and text, unaware of your surroundings.
- Police report thieves are targeting users who are holding their phones in one hand and using the touch screen with the other. It makes it easier to snatch the phone from the victim. Keep a good grip on your device at all times.
- Never chase a thief for your phone. A 27-year old woman was killed last month while chasing a thief to retrieve her phone. He pushed her down the steps of the Metro. Another elderly woman was put in a coma by being pushed down on the platform of the Metro. It just isn’t worth it.
It has been reported that the legislature has considered implementing a mandatory policy whereby smartphones are immediately “locked” after theft. London-based company Snuko, P.L.C. has devised smartphone technology which will enhance a lockout. At the first instance of theft, the user can contact Snuko, who is enabled to remotely locate the device through a GPS tracker and lock it from use. Therefore, the user is not only easily traceable by law enforcement, but the I-Phone or other smartphone is completely useless to him as he cannot access any of the valuable applications and information contained therein.