Smart Phone Thefts On The Rise; Prevention Tips

By KBJR News 1

January 17, 2013 Updated Jan 22, 2013 at 11:21 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Just about everyone carries a phone with them when they are on the go, but did you know some phones are more likely to be stolen than others.

Droids and iPhones top the list for thefts last year.

According to iWatch Duluth, a mobile crime watch tool that allows community members to report criminal or suspicious activity, it's a growing concern.

"I'm not really worried about the stealing of phones, although that is an issue," Charlie Comnick, a smart phone user, said.

But not all agree.

Some are taking extra precautions to protect their mobile devices.

"If it's the difference between, you know, loosing your phone for good and getting it back, it makes a lot of sense," Bob Monahan, a smart phone user, said.

Duluth police say they expect the number of thefts won't be going down anytime soon.

"Where we see that crime happening the most is where a bag, or a briefcase, or a purse, or something along that line, is left unattended it's a crime of opportunity," Jim Hansen, a Duluth Public Information Officer, said.

With decreased use of landlines and the rise of cell phones, the numbers of thefts are likely to increase.

"There's no doubt about it. They are going to sell and try to pawn that phone off, typically. As we know now with GPS and so fourth, people aren't hanging on to them too long. They are going to dump them right away," Hansen said.

Officer Hansen says one of the best and easy ways to prevent your phone from being stolen is to keep it on you like in a pocket or in a bag...but if it is taken, there are easy ways to track it down.

"I run my whole life off this phone and if I loose this phone I'd totally be out of luck," Craig Rhode Jr., a web analyst, said.

Whether you use your device for taking pictures, storing contacts, or just simply to make a call, getting the right apps may save you a big headache down the road.

Rohde says backing up, or syncing your phone everyday will reduce the risk of loosing important files.

"Also making sure that you install the Find My iPhone app," Rhode said.

This app allows you to access the physical location of your iPhone from any computer.

Also for iPhone users, Rhode also recommends Prey, which will actually take a picture of the person stealing the phone and emailing it to the owner.

And for you Android users, Rhode recommends Advanced Mobile Security and Phone Seeker which also have tracking services that allow users to access their phone's location from home.

"Most of the apps I suggest are free," Rhode said.

But above all, Rhode says be selective about what applications you download.

"When you decide to download an app, make sure you do the research. Make sure you read the reviews," Rhode said.

Apps like Find My Phone and Phone Seeker both have the capabilities for users to erase their phone's content just by accessing a personal computer.

If you have questions about which apps to download or buy, you can visit web analyst Craig Rhode Jr.'s blog here: www.craigrhodejr.com

Justin Reis, NNC.