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Phone thefts prompt initiative

iPhone thefts near Main Campus cause CSS to increase prevention efforts.

During the past few years, the popularity of the iPhone has increased, but so have the rates of thievery attached to them, a trend that’s reached Main Campus.

On Sept. 27, an email was sent to all students detailing the cell phone — particularly the iPhone — robbery problem and how people can defend themselves from falling victim to this trend. The email was the first move in a new campaign to warn students of this danger.

Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said this push toward cell phone safety will include magnets with tips, tweets and help from all facets of the Temple community.

“We’re trying to figure out the best ways to talk to students,” he said.

Leone said these thefts have been more prevalent west of Main Campus due to recent student expansion into that area, as well as on the subway platforms. He also detailed the many incidents that cause students to have their cell phones stolen.

“We see a mix, we see people leaving property unattended, and that accounts for a lot of our thefts and we see because you’re texting with it or talking, that somebody will just come by and grab it out of your hand,” Leone said. “We’ve even had several students lend their phones to juveniles and boom, they run away.”

When carrying a cell phone, it is comparable to upward of $400 in someone’s pocket. The expensive price tag attached to these phones and their easily transferable nature makes for very attractive targets for thieves.

“Be mindful if you have your cell phone and be mindful of your area, try your best to avoid using it in public because it makes you more vulnerable,” Leone said.

To combat such thefts, Leone suggested that iPhone users make use of the locator application, which simplifies the process of finding a phone once it has been taken.

In some cases, this has been the deciding factor between the returning of the phone to its original owner and the loss of the item entirely.

Leone stressed that it is a matter of students being more aware of how, when and where their phones are used.

“We have our phone, we have some time while we’re walking to class and they’re out, they become so a part of us,” Leone said. “So, we are trying to see if we can change a little bit of the culture and say it might be best to talk on your phone in a better area than walking through the street.”

While Leone acknowledged that the new campaign to change student behavior is going to be a challenge, he said he still remains hopeful.

“We’re up to it.” Leone said.

Cindy Stansbury can be reached at cindy.stansbury@temple.edu.

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