Smartphone robbery spike spurs police prevention blitz

By Robert Frank

Laval Police traveled the Metro orange line, March 25, together with the Montreal, Longueil and Montreal transit authority counterparts, to warn commuters how to protect themselves against a growing rash of smartphone robberies.

“In Laval alone, robbers took 858 phones in 2012 and 892 in 2013,” Sgt. Frédéric Jean told The Suburban. “You wouldn’t walk around with $600 or more in your hand, yet people walk around wearing headphones, oblivious of their surroundings.

To counter the spike in crime, Canada has implemented a cellphone blacklist, he said. Within hours after police enter your cell phone’s electronic serial number (ESN) on the blacklist, carriers will block it from sending and receiving calls.

“You can find out your mobile ESN by entering *#06# on the phone’s keypad,” Sgt. Jean explained. “You should write that number down and keep it somewhere safe where you can find it.”

“If your phone is ever stolen, give that number to the police when you report the crime,” he continued. “If you have a tablet computer that uses a 3G or LTE cellular wireless service, you can also retrieve the ESN and keep it on hand for blacklist purposes.”

More information is available at Sgt. Jean also noted that smartphone users keep a great deal of sensitive personal information on their devices.

“That information is quite valuable to criminals. It’s one of the first things that criminals access after they steal a phone,” he said, adding that another website,, offers tips on how to keep that information safe.
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(Left to right) Montreal Const. Julie Mazerole, Longueuil Const. Karine Gravel, Société des transports de Montréal Inspector Penelope Toupin and Laval Const. Karine Ménard spent a day aboard the Metro, telling commuters how to keep their smartphones from falling prey to criminals.

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