A new police operation in Nottingham city center to combat distraction thefts is showing early signs of success.
Following an increase in mobile thefts at fast-food restaurants and coffee shops, neighborhood officers launched Operation Cloud two weeks ago.
As part of the proactive operation, a number of initiatives have been launched, and there has already been a decrease in reports.
“The operation came about after a spate of distraction thefts over a three-week period,” said Sergeant Paul Whitehead of the City Center neighborhood policing team.
“Typically, a victim would be sitting in a coffee shop or café when someone approached them and asked for directions.
“That same person would then place a piece of paper over their mobile phone, which would be on the table, and while the victim was providing directions the distraction thief would take their phone.
“In order to combat this, we are distributing crime prevention postcards and posters that advise the public on how to keep their belongings safe.
“We’ve also stepped up plain-clothed patrols and high-visibility patrols to both catch and deter offenders.
“In addition to this, we’re deploying some covert tactics and also engaging with various partners and licensed premises to ensure they’re doing everything possible to protect their customers.
“We’re also working with the local universities to ensure our messaging reaches the student population – and we’ll be doing a crime prevention assembly at a local school to further get our message across.
“This is in addition to some social media posts we’ve made to raise awareness of the issue.”
Since the operation began, there have been fewer reports of mobile phone thefts in the city centre.
“We’ve gone from 13 reports in three weeks to just one report in ten days,” said Sgt Whitehead, “so the operation is already having an impact.”
The postcards and posters that are being distributed across the city center encourage people to “keep your stuff safe, don’t give anyone the opportunity”.
A list of “dos and don’ts” is provided on the back of the postcards.
Among the don’ts are:
Leave your belongings unattended.
Make a note of the PIN numbers.
Make it simple for thieves
Among the things to do are:
Only carry the cash you require.
For added security, use a PIN or pattern code on your phone.
Carry valuables in clothing or bag pockets.
Track your phone using ‘Find my iPhone’ or ‘PREY’ software.