Initiatives Aimed at Enforcement and Prevention Boston Police are cracking down on cell phone robberies specifically Sidekicks as the result of an increase in incidents in 2008. Statistics indicate that in 2008 slightly more than 300 sidekick robberies occurred citywide. Sidekick robberies account for approximately 14% of all of the City’s robberies. Data also shows that the majority of these incidents occur either before or after school.
The Boston Police Department has launched a multi-pronged effort to address this issue and prevent future robberies. Investigators have targeted stores suspected of purchasing stolen phones and then re-selling them, which is a violation of MA General Law Chapter 140: Section 55, Sale and Purchase of Secondhand Articles Without a License. In addition, the Boston Police School Police Unit is working closely with the School Department to raise awareness among students. Boston Police collaborated with 10th grade students from the Boston Arts Academy to create an awareness poster to be distributed to students as part of ongoing prevention efforts.
Incident Descriptions:
• On January 13, 2009 at about 3:30pm Detectives from District B-2 performed a undercover operation at 420 Geneva Avenue at Cellular and Paging of JP. An undercover operative entered above address and sold a used cell phone, a T-mobile to the store clerk who gave him $40.00. A short time later another undercover operative entered above address and purchased a T-Mobile cell phone from clerk for $200.00. After the operative left, detectives entered the premise and it was secured for a search warrant to be sought. Later that evening, detectives executed a search warrant and recovered over 475 used phones that were for sale. Police will now seek a complaint for violation of the city ordinance and state law governing resale of used items.
• On January 9, 2009 at 5:18pm, an undercover officer (UC) entered the G&M Electronics Wireless Store located at 7 Bluehill Ave. The UC was in possession of a stolen Sidekick cell phone and attempted to sell the phone to the store owner. The UC informed the owner that the phone was not his and that he wished to sell it. Owner bought the phone from the UC for $50.00. A second UC entered the store shortly thereafter and attempted to purchase a Sidekick. The UC purchased a phone for $200.00 and the store was then frozen pending a search warrant. A search warrant was executed later that evening and 69 cell phones were recovered including the one sold to the store earlier in the day by the first UC. The owner has since been summonsed to court with 71 counts of violating MA General Law Chapter 140: Section 55, Sale and Purchase of Secondhand Articles Without a License.
The Boston Police Department would like to take this opportunity to remind community members of a few helpful safety tips to assist with prevention efforts.
Safety Street Tips :
• Always be aware of your surroundings–especially at night. When walking remain in well-lit and populated areas.
• Be watchful – who is out there and what is going on. Keep your head up. Make quick eye contact with those around you and be observant of passing vehicles. Do not become distracted by talking on a cell phone or listening to an Ipod.
• Show that you are in control – walk with confidence. Be assertive – do not let anyone violate your space. Trust your instincts.
• If you think that someone is following you, switch direction or cross the street. Walk towards an open store, restaurant or lighted house.
• If you feel threatened, call out to residents that you need assistance. Yelling ‘Fire’, ‘Help’ and/or ‘Rape’, as you are being assaulted also signals people to assist you.