by December 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm 2,034 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]


Disable your stolen phones. (Luis Gomez Photos)

DC Mayor Vincent Gray and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy Lanier announced a new initiative Monday encouraging victims to disable stolen cellular phones. The process, known as “bricking,” allows the provider to block the stolen phone from being reactivated.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been working with law enforcement and major wireless providers to use “bricking” as a way to tackle the theft and black market resale of smartphones (FCC Announces Plan with Mexico to Address Cell Phone Theft).

Gray and Lanier introduced a new DC website,, which includes information from the FCC on how to report a stolen cell phone and tips from MPD on preventing robberies and thefts.

Lanier reminded citizens to remain aware of their surroundings during the holidays and not become distracted by phones and other electronic devices. She pointed out that many robberies in the District involve the theft of cell phones. MPD also has a website with other winter holiday safety tips.

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by November 30, 2012 at 8:00 am 2,258 0

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]

Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, and Mexican Communications Under-Secretary, Hector Olavarria Tapia, signed an agreement to help address the trafficking of stolen cell phones between the United States and Mexico. Genachowski announced the agreement November 13, according to a release. (See FCC Announces Plans to Reduce Smartphone Thefts, Protect Data.)


Be careful when using your phone or portable electronic device in public. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Mexican and U.S. authorities will increase efforts to prevent stolen phones from the United States from being re-activated in Mexico and vice-versa. The FCC and Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transport will also work jointly to target international phone trafficking rings.

These efforts build on the FCC’s “PROTECTS Initiative,” which creates a database of stolen phone serial numbers to prevent the reactivation of these devices. (FCC Announces Plans to Reduce Smartphone Thefts, Protect Data). The Initiative also includes efforts to increase the use of passwords on smartphones and make consumers aware of services and applications such as the “Find my iPhone” app that can help locate and lock stolen products.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier made remarks at the announcement of the agreement. Lanier lauded the efforts of the FCC and was especially happy that the federal government worked quickly on this effort to protect consumers and reduce the number of robbery victims.

Smartphone theft has become an increasing problem in a number of major cities including DC, where Chief Lanier estimates 60 to 70 percent of robberies are cell-phone related. A video of the announcement and Lanier’s remarks are available.

CTIA-The Wireless Association announced on October 31 that all of the major cell phone providers had met the deadline of creating a database of stolen cell phone serial numbers. Currently, any phone reported stolen to AT&T, Cellcom, Nex-Tech Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile or Verizon Wireless cannot be reactivated on that network’s service.

AT&T and T-Mobile have taken steps to ensure that stolen AT&T phones cannot be activated on T-Mobile and vice versa. By November 30, 2013, the database will prevent stolen phones from being reactivated on any service. CTIA also has tips and information on preventing and reporting cell phone theft.

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by August 6, 2012 at 10:00 am 2,477 1 Comment

From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]

Three robberies last Thursday afternoon (August 2) of victims carrying electronic devices may be related, according to a postby Second District Captain David Sledge. The robberies highlight the importance of remaining vigilant and being aware of your surroundings to avoid being victimized.


How smart are you with your cell phone on the street? (Luis Gomez Photos)

The first robbery occurred at 1:35 pm in the 1100 block of 15th Street NW, just south of the Borderstan coverage area. The victim was sitting on a wall using an iPhone and the suspect grabbed the phone from the victim’s hand.

In the second incident, a suspect approached a victim from behind in the 1400 block of 15th Street NW at about 2:14 pm and grabbed a victim’s wrist in an attempt to take a cell phone. The victim was able to break away from the suspect’s hold and the suspect fled the scene.

The third robbery took place at 16th Street NW and Church Street NW at about 2:20 pm when the suspect grabbed a camera from the victim’s hand after approaching from behind. The suspect then fled the scene in a light-colored older model pickup truck. The victim grabbed onto the tailgate of the truck and suffered minor injuries after being dragged a short distance.

No weapon was used in any of the three incidents. The suspect in each case was described as a black male around 6’0″ tall with a slender build and wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. The reported age of the suspect varied though from 20 to 40. Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department at 202-727-9099.

Captain Sledge provided a number of safety tips to avoid becoming the violent of street crime. Many recent Borderstan robberies have involved the theft of smart phones or other electronic devices, and so it is always important to avoid becoming distracted by phone calls or text messages.

Although these Thursday robberies occurred in the afternoon, most robberies occur late at night. It’s best to avoid walking alone at night if possible. If you do walk alone, stay in well-lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts through alleys or dark streets. Try to stay on streets that are heavily traveled. Always walk on the sidewalk and stay close to the curb to avoid bushes, doorways, and other hiding spots. Avoid wearing headphones at night. If you see any suspicious activity or feel unsafe, it’s always best to call 911 to let police investigate.

If you are victimized, it’s always smarter to give up property and not try to fight back. Call police as soon as you can and try to provide as much information as possible about the suspect so that police nearby can try to make an arrest.

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by January 26, 2010 at 7:47 am 4,357 21 Comments

This is one of the more depressing Crimes of Notes posts that I have done in some time, especially in terms of robberies and stolen autos. The only silver lining in the crimes noted below is that only two were gun crimes.

The recent number of robberies has been noted by Police Service Area (PSA) 208, and we got the following message last night, which was targeted to the Dupont-Logan area:

Of late there have been an increase of street robberies around the DC Metro area, PSA 208 nor the Second District is immune from these. There is not a specific suspect lookout but there is a very specific target, the iPhone. To help combat this problem we are asking the users of all phones and PDAs to use good street sense and be completely aware of their surroundings.

In other words, people, it is a bad idea to chatter away on your cell phone (especially an iPhone, it seems)… totally unaware of your surroundings… particularly at night… and especially when you are by yourself on a quiet street. However, a number of these crimes occurred in relatively busy areas, including 15th and P NW last evening at 7:06 p.m. (more details below the fold).

Following are crimes of note–robberies, assaults, burglaries and stolen autos–that occurred between January 16 and January 25. There was also a hit and run of a pedestrian early on Sunday morning at 14th and U NW.



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