Monthly e-Tip: Cell Phone Security and Safety
If you look around, you will see countless people looking down at their cellphones every day. By being focused on our cellphones we forget to be alert and aware of our surroundings. This can be dangerous for many reasons, and can also place a target on us by criminals. A study completed a few years ago conducted a survey of convicted felons. The survey asked them to choose the most likely targets, after watching videos of people doing daily tasks such as walking down the street, shopping, and getting gas. The respondents consistently chose those who were not paying attention. Cell phones were a significant factor in this. These valuable and small electronic devices can be an easy target for criminals looking for something small to take.
The Bakersfield Police Department Crime Prevention Unit recommends utilizing these crime prevention measures to lessen your chance of becoming a victim of theft or robbery of a cell phone:
- Utilize a password/passcode on your phone
- Keep your cellular phone’s serial number and I.M.E.I. number (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) in a safe place to relay to law enforcement if your phone is stolen.
- If you own a smartphone, install an application that will allow you to locate your phone if it is lost or stolen
- Be careful when buying or selling a cellular phone online. If you are purchasing or selling a phone from an unknown person, meet in a public place or business, preferably one with video surveillance cameras. Do not conduct transactions in the parking lots. Bring a friend with you.
- If you plan on selling your phone, do not reset the phone until after you receive the money from the buyer, as to prevent becoming the victim of a robbery and to give law enforcement the opportunity to track the phone.
- When walking in public, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep electronic devices concealed. If you can, walk with friends, so as not to be alone.
- Make eye contact with those you pass by, in order to give an excellent suspect description if necessary.
- Do not hand your phone over for anyone to borrow.
Personal safety is much more important than sending a text message or social networking. If your phone is taken you can face a bigger headache than you ever imagined. Your cell phone probably has contacts, pictures, and other personal information stored in it. This is why it is important to back-up all contacts and media. Installing an application that can erase all information on a stolen cell phone remotely is highly recommended.
For more tips and information, please visit www.beforeyouloseit.org
We must also remember the dangers of using our cellphones while driving, especially while texting. Texting and driving is a growing issue that puts not only the “texter” at risk of being in an accident, but also passengers and innocent bystanders. Texting and driving makes it 23 times more likely that we will be involved in an accident. Many studies now show that texting and driving can also be a bigger risk than driving under the influence. Turn off or hide your cell phone from your view while you are driving so you do not become distracted by it. Many smartphone applications can send messages to incoming text messages that automatically say “I am driving, I will get back to you later”. We could also have a fellow passenger do our texting for us while we are driving. NO TEXT MESSAGE IS WORTH A LIFE.
For more information on the hazards of texting and driving, please visit www.distraction.gov
The Bakersfield Police Department’s Community Relations Unit is available to do Driving While In”text”icated presentations to drivers of all ages, to teach about the dangers of distracted driving. Please contact Kelsey Taylor at 661-326-3051 if you are interested in scheduling a presentation.