As adults we are constantly made aware of the high crime rate and incidents of criminal activity through the media, security service providers and other platforms.
Our children however are most likely not as exposed to all this criminal activity, largely due to us as parents trying to shield them from all this negativity surrounding crime.
In a recent survey from Statistics South Africa, it was revealed that almost 70% of property related theft was that of mobile phones. It is estimated that almost 70 million phones are stolen world-wide every year.
Children should be educated around the responsibility of looking after this valued possession, due to it being the most commonly stolen item.
This is particularly the case when our children leave school, minutes after the final bell has rung, and immediately get busy on their cell phones. They are undoubtedly not paying attention to their surroundings or any possible suspicious characters in their vicinity. Teenagers often congregate in groups out of the school environment and this also draws the attention of criminals.
Criminals look for soft, distracted targets who are not paying attention to their surroundings, and usually strike at lightning speed, snatching the phone from your hands and then disappearing into a waiting car for a quick getaway, or run off never to be caught.
It is a well-known fact that criminals patrol areas of easy pickings. As parents it is our responsibility to inform our children regarding the dangers of cell phone use in public and open spaces, not to instil fear, but to make them aware of the possible dangers that do exist.
As a child it can be even more traumatic to have a cell phone taken at knife or gunpoint as we have seen happen on numerous occasions.
With a booming illicit market for these stolen goods, CBAR is warning all clients and family members to be extra careful and vigilant, and to keep phones out of sight and safely stored away when not in use in public spaces.
Listed below are a few safety measures to consider.
• Teach your child to place their cell phone either in their trouser pocket or
backpack. They can still listen to music by using their headphones, with the
device remaining concealed.
• In the event of your child becoming a victim, instruct your child to hand over
the phone rather than try to fight the thief – a mobile phone is not worth the risk
of physical injury.
• Talk about emergency calls.
Make sure your child is aware that they can and should call you and dial 112
in an emergency.
• Having a few contacts labelled “In Case of Emergency” lets your child know
who they can call if they need help and can’t reach you. This could be helpful
when raising the alarm in the event of one of their peers’ phones being stolen
• Load your child’s phone with City Bowl Armed Response (CBAR) Monitoring &
Control Centre Number (0860 15 15 15 / 021 4621850) – FOR ALL
• Teach Responsibility. Make sure your child understands a cell phone is not a
toy and teach them to be aware of their surroundings, whilst practicing
responsible cell phone usage.
• Advise your children not to leave their phones lying open and unattended
whilst at restaurants, shopping malls or any public spaces.
• Make sure that you have a record of ALL your cell phones IMEI numbers. This
number can be found behind the battery or by dialing *#06# from your phone.
This is also the number that is used to block the phone, and will be required
for any insurance claims.
• Make sure that you and your children’s phones are loaded with an App that
can track and wipe devices if they are stolen. There are many such Apps on
the market, but in all probability Apple (Find my iPhone) and Google’s (Find
my phone) are the most popular.
• Ensure that your phones are regularly backed up to either a cloud account or
physically backed up to a PC / Laptop.
Hopefully the above will encourage you, and your children, to take better care of your mobile device and not put yourself in a situation that may create an opportunity to fall victim to criminals looking for an easy target.