Updated: 02/25/2014 5:31 PM
Created: 02/25/2014 7:57 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
From college campuses to public transportation and everywhere in between, cellphones have become easy prizes for thieves. Apple devices like iPhones are often the target, which is why the term "apple picking" is now commonplace for law enforcement.
In light of the recent spike in cell phone robberies in the Twin Cities, AT&T and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office joined forces Tuesday to announce a new public awareness campaign.
The Program, called "Protect My Cellphone," was created to educate the public about the increase in mobile phone thefts and provide information on steps people can take to protect their phones and safeguard their personal information.
“With smartphone robberies rising, the public needs to be aware of this issue and understand that there are simple steps they can take today to protect themselves and deter thefts,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “The first step people can take is to be aware of their surroundings and not provide thieves with an opportunity to steal their phone.”
There are free security apps available that protect consumers’ data, including apps that allow a user to lock a phone remotely, track a device, and wipe their phone. Other apps can trigger an alarm when a phone is stolen or take a photo of the thief, which consumers can send to the police.
Information on these apps can be found here.
As part of the campaign, AT&T hold educational workshops around the state with law enforcement to educate consumers on the steps they can take to protect their personal information and to provide demonstrations of the different security apps currently available.
Some of the preventative measures laid out in the “Protect My Cellphone” campaign include:
How to deter theft, protect your smartphone
What to do if your phone is stolen