MILWAUKEE -- Thieves in Milwaukee are swiping cell phones and Milwaukee Police are trying to put a stop to it. MPD reports a 25% increase in robberies so far this year compared to the same period of time last year. Milwaukee Police say 30% of the robberies target cell phones.
Milwaukee police launched a robbery reduction initiative that covers several neighborhoods in Districts 3 and 5. Washington Park, Uptown, and Park West/ Lindsay Heights are currently the focus and because that's where robberies are reported the most.
MPD is looking at patterns and trends to crackdown on thieves and deploy its resources. They are also trying to track down robbery suspects with open warrants. "Research tells us that approximately 10% of offenders commit 50% of the crime." Says Captain Chad Wagner.
Milwaukee Police say there are a few steps you can take to avoid being the next victim. Captain Michael Brunson says don't get distracted by your phone. "Make sure that you see what's going on around you, especially at bus stops. Be very vigilant at bus stops because some suspects target people at bus stops especially, late at night," says Capt. Brunson.
He suggests creating a password that locks your phone so thieves can't access the information on your smart phone. Also, enable software that allows you to wipe your data remotely and set up tracking software that locates your phone with GPS. MPD says tracking apps like "Find My Phone" have helped recover stolen smart phones and find suspects.
If you want to report a robbery you can call MPD's robbery hot line at (414) 935-7307.