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Prevent the theft of your cellphone

Updated September 24, 2012

Occurrences of cell phone theft have been steadily increasing throughout Los Angeles County and the nation. Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives and the Cerritos Sheriff's Station/Community Safety Center offer the following cellphone safety tips to help you reduce the cost, risks and hassle of having your cellphone stolen:

Password protect your phone
Use the security lock code, or PIN feature, to lock your phone. This makes it more difficult for others to access your personal information if your phone is stolen.

Save your serial number
Save your cell phone's serial number, model and make in a place where you can find it. Your serial number proves that the phone is yours.

Don't store secrets
Consider carefully what information you store in your phone. If your phone is stolen, it's not difficult to extract your private information before clearing the memory and reselling the device.

Activate the tracking device
Activate the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking system on your phone. If the device does not have a GPS tracking system, there is after-market tracking software you can buy. Tracking devices often lead to your stolen device and sometimes additional stolen property.

Don't get distracted when walking
Stay aware of your surroundings. Don't walk down the street talking on your phone or texting. This typically makes you unaware of your environment, including people nearby. It is very easy for a thief to grab your phone while you are distracted.

Hide and go eat
When eating in a restaurant (or relaxing in a public place), don't leave your phone on the table. It's too easy for crooks to grab it and run. Put the phone away and enjoy your meal.

Don't delay
If your phone is stolen, find another phone to use and call the Cerritos Sheriff's Station at (562) 860-0044 as soon as possible.

Be a good witness
If you see the suspect, don't try to get your phone back. Try to get a description of the suspect and if he or she is driving away, note the vehicle license number, color and model, and the last known direction of travel. Write it down if you can and call the police with the information.

Anonymous tips can be made by calling "LA Crime Stoppers" at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637) or visiting

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