Hertfordshire Police has issued a reminder to people that they can protect their mobile devices by installing applications that trace their whereabouts.
Over the last two years a number of stolen mobile devices have been recovered by police, some of which have led to arrests, thanks to the tracking applications installed on them.
The apps make it possible to locate devices using the GPS signal, recover lost or stolen devices and catch criminals before they can dispose of stolen devices.
A variety of tracking apps are available for Apple, Android and other mobile devices, are easy to download and free.
The apps can be activated remotely via a computer, smart phone or tablet.
In some cases the app can even be installed remotely and then used to locate the lost or stolen device.
If a device with an app installed has been lost – the owner can locate the device and collect it themselves however if it has been stolen the owner should call police as soon as possible, as they may be able to track the phone, recover it and make an arrest.
If you believe your mobile device has been stolen call the police non-emergency number 101 or 999 if the theft is in progress, giving the call-taker your tracking app details.
Police are also urging people to contact them if devices are stolen, rather than trying to recover the items themselves, as this could lead to difficult or dangerous situations developing.
Inspector Paul Lawrence, from the Crime Reduction Unit said: “Mobile devices are amongst the most commonly stolen items, as they are small, valuable and highly desirable.
“Thieves are attracted to these items which they usually steal and then sell on very quickly.
“However, with a growing number of people using these tracking applications, it is making it more difficult for thieves to steal these devices and can be a deterrent as it can lead to them being caught.
“If you don’t have a tracking app installed on your devices I would strongly urge you to install one and keep a record of the app installed.
“Then, if it is lost or stolen, it is much more likely that you can get it back.
“Even if your device is covered by insurance and you can get a replacement, losing all your contacts and other data can be devastating.
“You should also keep your devices locked when not in use, to ensure a thief cannot deactivate the app, and to protect your personal data.”
There are a number of suitable tracking apps available for Android, Apple and other devices, which can be downloaded from the appropriate application stores. More information on these can be found at: www.police.uk/crime-prevention-advice/protecting-your-mobile-phone/.