Safety Tips

With the arrival of warmer weather, the Ottawa Police Service Robbery Unit is once again reminding people to be vigilant with respect to personal robberies, swarmings and thefts.

“Through the first 4 months of 2014 (up to May 5), the Robbery Unit has received 28 reports of personal robberies, a decrease of 36 % or 16 actual incidents, compared to the same period in 2013,” said Staff Sergeant Mike Haarbosch. “During the same period in 2014, 48 swarmings were reported, a decrease of 48% or 45 actual incidents compared to 2013.”

Smartphones, iPhones, and other electronic devices continue to be desirable to thieves. In many cases, the phones or devices have been openly displayed before the offence occurs. The suspects swarm the victim and take the device or other items, or often simply catch the victim by surprise, grab the device, and flee.

The Ottawa Police Robbery Unit recommends the following safety tips concerning these potentially violent incidents:
* Be attentive to your surroundings and those around you. Avoid isolated areas, in particular after dark and when withdrawing money from ATMs;
* Travel with friends whenever possible. The “buddy system” is a great way to stay safe.
* Be wary of inadvertently displaying possessions such as cell phones and other electronic devices; and
* Let someone know where you are going and when you can be expected home.

Should you become a victim of a swarming or personal robbery, the following steps are recommended:
* Do not resist your attackers, they may be armed and this could lead to serious injury or death;
* Try and memorize their faces, clothing and license plates if they leave in vehicles;
* Call 911 as soon as possible, or if you are around an OC Transpo facility look for an emergency call box; and
* If you are a student and are robbed at school or by someone from your school, report the incident to the office and to the Ottawa Police Service.

It is important to also report your stolen cellular phone to your cellular provider in order that it may be added to the national “blacklist”. People purchasing phones through a website or similar should ask for the phone’s unique IMEI number in order to query it on the “blacklist”. In Canada, the website to check the status of your device is:

Anyone with information with respect to any robbery is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Robbery Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5116 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.

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