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CELLPHONES IN PUBLIC ARE MOVING TARGETS FOR CRIMINALS: BROOKLYN
2020/10/07      |  Written By:  Captain C Weilbach   |   Province:  Gauteng

PRETORIA-The South African Police Service (SAPS) Brooklyn caution cellphone users that they are making their cellphones, moving targets by using it in public.  Increased vigilance is needed from cellphone users to reduce the high number of street robberies. 

Cellphone users listening to music, texting, talking or otherwise absorbed in their phones are making themselves a prime target for criminals.  Technology is taking away people’s focus and awareness of what is going on around them. 

Several cases were reported by pedestrians who were robbed of their cellphones while using it in public.  Cellphone users were also targeted while they were waiting for a taxi through a cellphone app or while they were waiting for their food order at a fast food outlet. Customers to restaurants with outside seating must also be vigilant not to leave their cellphones on the table for a passersby to grab it.

In majority of the incidents the suspects jumped into a get-away vehicle after robbing the cellphones.  A white and a silver Toyota and a white BMW are often mentioned by the victims.  In some incidents the suspects were on foot, pushing their victim to the ground, before taking the cellphone.  These crimes regularly occurred during broad daylight in busy streets.

Alcohol impairs judgment and robbers will see anybody that are under the influence of alcohol as an easy target.  Many cellphones get stolen at liquor outlets or lost due to negligence. 

Cellphone robberies are generally a crime of opportunity. Criminals focus on opportunities that cellphone users are giving them when they use their cellphones in public.  Therefore cellphones must be treated the same way as cash; do not let anybody know that you have it and put it away while in public.

Over the weekend the Brooklyn Community Police Forum (CPF) and community patrollers assisted with an arrest of a suspicious cellphone thief.  On Friday evening the community patrollers were busy with patrols near liquor outlets in Ox Street in Menlo Park when they saw a suspicious man running away.  They managed to caught up with him and saw how he was throwing a cellphone away in nearby bushes.

The man was apprehended and the cellphone was found.  The patrollers suspected that the cellphone was stolen after they saw the profile photo and other content on the cellphone.  Brooklyn SAPS was contacted and the 37-year-old was immediately arrested for possession of suspected stolen items.

The Brooklyn Station Commander, Brigadier Kushie Pietersen thanked the CPF and community patrollers for their assistance in visible patrols to curb street robberies and other crimes. The SAPS thanks and appreciates all law abiding individuals that have heeded the call to participate in the fight against crime by calling the Crime Stop number - ‪08600 10111 and sending tip-offs on the MySAPS App (MySAPS Application may be downloaded from any android and iPhone smartphone)