According to Foxnews.com, the cellphone has become a top target of robbers who use stealth, force and guns to get your smartphones.

Nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco this year are cel phone related. I believe the trend is heading this way simply because a smartphone costs in the area of $300 to $600, is easily stolen from your car, your office or your hands and is easily concealable. We have had victims injured in Sandy Springs while criminals were trying to steal their cellphones.

According to the article, one thief snatched a smartphone while sitting behind his victim on a bus and was able to dart from the bus in seconds, stolen cellphone in hand.  Another criminal grabbed an iPhone from an oblivious bus rider while she was still talking.

In New York, more than 40 precentof all robberies involve cell phones and in Los Angeles, more than a quarter of their robberies involve cell phones, up 27 percent from last year.

A San Francisco police captain said that “this is your modern-day purse snatching.”

And smartphones contain tons of personal information that can be used against you and used to obtain all kinds of account and password information.

“A lot of younger folks seem to put their entire lives on these things,” the Calilfornia police captain said.

The situation has gotten so bad that the FCC and major phone carriers have agreed to set up a national database in 2013 to track reported stolen phones.

There are some things that you can do to protect yourself and your phone:

1)      Keep your phone with you at all times when you are out and about.  Don’t leave it in your car. Don’t leave it in your office. And don’t leave it on the counter at your favorite restaurant, walk away, come back 30 seconds later and be surprised when it’s not there.

2)      When using your phone, pay attention to your surroundings.  Know who and what is going on around you.  Don’t walk around the street, sending a text message, and have some thug run up behind you and rip your phone out of your hand.

3)      Use passwords to secure your phone.  Write down the make, model and serial number.  Back-up the information on your phone. Check with your carrier on how to do this.  Get insurance on your phone.

Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department.  He can be reached at ljacobs@sandyspringsga.gov.