Security gives tips to protect property as phone thefts rise

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Security gives tips to protect property as phone thefts rise

Brennan Guilds and Alex Wright

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Watkins Mill students are facing an increase in phone thefts at school this year with over 30 missing phones reported to security. Phones have been stolen from the locker rooms, bathrooms and student backpacks.

According to security team leader Darryl Cooper, about ten of the phones reported to security have been found.  “The first thing we do is interview [the student]…after…we have [the student] fill out a lost and stolen statement,” Cooper said.

Security’s next move in the process of finding stolen phones, or any stolen item, is to check the school’s cameras. After they have an idea of who took the phone, security will confront the suspected student and give them a chance to tell the truth. However, students don’t always tell the truth, so often administration, parents, and sometimes the police are involved.

Students target phones for many reasons.  The most obvious reason for targeting phones is their value, as the average unlocked phone is worth between $400 and $500. Thieves also target phones for many other reasons, such as not having a phone themselves, or because the stolen phone is better than theirs.

“A good jacket is $200, maybe $300… but a phone is $500 to $600,” Cooper said.

Despite the large number of thefts, there seems to be no large presence of organized theft, but rather many different, or random students stealing phones. “Part of it is just being a kid,” Cooper added. Without an obvious perpetrator, it is often hard to track down thefts when camera evidence is not present.

Many of the thefts occur in the locker rooms for two main reasons. First, there are no cameras in the locker rooms, so it is harder to track down the perpetrator. Second, many students do not lock up their phones. Phones are often left in backpacks outside of lockers, which makes the victim an easy, and obvious target.

Even though there is no justification for theft, it is much easier to protect yourself from theft in the first place. This includes not taking your phone to gym class if you don’t have a lock on your locker. “Treat it like it’s cash…if you wouldn’t leave $600 cash in your bag don’t leave your phone in there,” Cooper added.

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