There has been a sharp rise in iPod and cell phone robberies in the Southland; we are urging citizens to become more aware when using their electronic devices in public. Police statistics indicate that robberies of iPods and cell phones are up 34 percent this year, accounting for about 1,700 of the city’s 8,000 total robberies. Some victims have reported having their iPods and cell phones stolen several times. The electronic devices usually cost anywhere from $150 to $500.
Those items are targeted because they're easy to conceal and carry. Suspects rob people of these items and walk down the street undetected. iPod, cell phones and portable GPS device thefts tend to rise during the holiday season. Electronic devices are highly sought after by thieves because they are easy to sell. Police statistics indicate that a rash of robberies of iPods were reported earlier this year near local area high schools and the University of Southern California campus. The crime pattern reveals that thieves target campuses to commit these robberies due to large amounts of potential victims.
In some areas of South Los Angeles, victims have reported groups of two to three suspects approaching a single individual. Sometimes the victims are standing at bus stops or just getting out of school. The suspects are either juveniles or young adults anywhere between the ages of 14 and 25. The suspects tend to commit the robberies around junior high or high schools, and are usually bullies or gang members who target people they can easily intimidate.
Police and school administrators have urged students to leave electronic devices at home so that they are not easy prey for thieves. Parents should encourage their children to leave these items at home. Police have advised the public to conceal cell phones, iPods, and portable electronic devices systems in clothing so that the items are less noticeable.
These unsuspecting victims are often distracted by listening to music or talking on the phone and are not aware of their surroundings. This is an open invitation for thieves. Police suggest that students walk to and from school in groups and arrange for friends or relatives to escort them to the bus stop if possible.
Lt. Gregory Allen
Detective Gena Brooks
Southwest Area Detectives