They say that people are getting mugged for their cordless *smart*-phones in cities.
They are also likely to be targeted by thieves in a smartphone crime wave fuelled by the enormous appetite for the machines that serve as status symbols, essential worktools and mobile entertainment centres.
The Paris police chief sounded the alarm last week when he said smartphones were the hottest item for thieves on the city's metro and that robbers were increasingly turning to violence to get their hands on them.
In Britain, a 30-strong National Mobile Phone Crime Unit is battling what a police spokesman said is "a general increase in the proportion of thefts which involve smartphones."
Susana Ramirez, a 29-year-old author and newspaper columnist in the Spanish city Barcelona, told AFP that a blog she wrote about her fear of using her iPhone in public sparked a huge response from her readers.
"I look to the right and to the left before I get out my phone," she wrote in the blog. "As if, instead of a phone, I was about to take out a knife or a stash of drugs on the street."
In New York, public announcements warn subway commuters not to display phones or other electronic devices.
Wraith noted that Britain and many other countries had systems in place that render stolen phones useless by blocking them from national networks by using the handset's unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number.
But that has led to stolen phones being shipped abroad for sale in places like eastern Europe, Algeria, Morocco, or West Africa, where an iPhone can fetch several hundred dollars and up to 1,000 if it contains data that can be exploited for credit card or other fraud, he said.
This has just got to be one of those crimes I almost condone!
Read a book on the train. Or carry a notebook and WRITE something, anything(!), down - that's what I do.
Are YOU addicted?
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