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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Ed Galvan , BPD Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5752

by Robbery Suspects

Berkeley, California (Friday, March 16, 2007) - City of Berkeley Police want to remind the community to safeguard their valuables. Like many East Bay cities, the Berkeley community has seen robberies of personal electronics being reported at a high rate.

It appears that high-end consumer electronics are in demand by thieves in Berkeley and surrounding cities. The sight of small, white ear buds are gold for would-be thieves, who see a $300 iPod at the end of the rainbow. Robbery in general is up this year, and Berkeley has seen approximately 16 iPod robberies in January and February alone.

In 2006, there were 47 reported robberies during the months of January and February. This year, there were 70 reported robberies for the same time period: a 49 percent increase in crime. On a more positive note, City of Berkeley Robbery Detectives have arrested suspects and increased their case closures by twelve percent, and overall property crimes are down about 9 percent.

Property Crimes Detective Tracie Lui said that many of the of recovered electronics ultimately end up going to the city auction because iPods, laptops, PDAs and other high-dollar value items are not marked with an owner’s information. Police are more likely to be able to return stolen property if:

Theft victims have serial numbers available for police reports. Serial numbers should be saved.

Owners can also permanently etch or paint identification (such as California Identification numbers) on their property.

Registering your new electronics with the manufacturer is another avenue to obtain serial numbers.

You can reduce your chance of being robbed by taking the following steps:

Always stay alert when wearing headphones, keep the volume at a level where you can hear people approaching you.

Use old-style headphones that appear to be from low cost or older equipment.

Use well-lit streets and sidewalks where many people are around and businesses are open.

Occasionally look behind you and pay attention to others around you.

Do not carry large sums of money or unused credit cards and identification.

Do not resist a robber - do as you are asked and follow the instructions given.

If you feel someone is following or watching you, go into a populated location, ask for help and call the police.

A loud signaling device such as a whistle may be used to direct attention to yourself if you feel threatened.

Do not leave your purse or backpack unattended.  Purses and backpacks hung on chairs or left in shopping carts are easy targets.


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