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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Byron White, Berkeley Police Department, (510) 981-5780


Berkeley, California (Monday, May 23, 2016) - The Berkeley Police Department occasionallyinvestigates street robberies of cell phones committed through a common rusedesigned to take advantage of people’s willingness to help others.  Thesuspect(s) will ask to use a victim’s cell phone—usually claiming the need tocontact a sick family member. Once the suspect has the cell phone, thesuspect(s) drive off in a vehicle—stealing the phone.


BPD would like to remind and encourage people toemploy a few crime prevention measures that can help reduce your risk offalling prey to these types of crimes.


Do not lend your phone to anyone you do not knowor take it out of your purse, pocket or bag to give someone the time, ifasked.  If you must, consider keeping possession of your phone and placingthe call for them—without giving the phone over. Remember that producing aphone upon request can confirm for a robber that you have a phone worthstealing.


Know that you can simply respond by saying,something to the effect of, “I’m sorry I can’t help you,” and continuing onyour way.


If someone is experiencing an emergency, retainthe phone and call the Berkeley Police Department at 981-5911, and report theemergency.


Do not talk on cell phones or listen to iPods whenalone outside as they significantly limit awareness.


Do walk with purpose: Project an assertive imagethat conveys you know where you are going.


Do avoid isolation: Avoid uninhabited parks,parking lots, garages, and alleyways; stick to well-lit, high-traffic areas.


Do keep a safe distance: Do not let people get tooclose, even if they appear to have a reason, such as asking for the time.


Always trust your instincts: Trusting your owninstincts that a situation seems “wrong” can be the best personal safety toolyou have.


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