Hatfield and Hillcrest have become an easy spot for criminals to make a quick buck by snatching phones from unsuspecting students. According to Sergeant Webster Scheepers from Brooklyn SAPS, there has been an increase in cell phone robberies in their policing area.
In most cell phone robberies, the victims were walking or standing with either their cellphones in their hands or on a phone call when it was grabbed from them. Sgt. Scheepers says reports show that an unknown man usually comes from behind, grabs the cellphone and runs towards a getaway vehicle that is waiting nearby and the vehicle speeds off.
Although street robberies can be identified as a crime of opportunity and occur within a few seconds, Sgt. Scheepers said students that are listening to music, texting or generally using their phones in public are a prime target for criminals.
You can protect yourself and your cellphone by:
- Treating your cell phone the way you treat cash; do not flash it around in public;
- Walking in groups, especially at night;
- Using well-lit and relatively busy roads;
- Changing your route if you think that someone is following you, and turning into an open business premises for help to contact the police; and
- refraining from talking to unknown people and not allowing yourself to get distracted by people who are selling items on the street.
Sgt. Scheepers also encouraged students to trust their instincts and not to allow technology to take away their focus from what is going on around them. Brooklyn SAPS can be reached at 012 366 1700