iRobbers getting derailed by blacklist

Devices aren’t attracting as many delinquents — personal robberies and swarmings are down 34% compared to this time last year with 84 fewer reported incidents, say police.

“It’s a great number,” said Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Mike Haarbosch from the robbery unit.

“We’ve seen that trend across the city and in places where we’ve had problems before; in the transit stations, we’ve certainly seen those numbers coming down.”

Haarbosch credits the decline to the national wireless technology blacklist, launched by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association last fall.

“That was the intent behind the blacklist,” said CWTA spokesman Marc Choma.

The latest iPhone, though, is slated for release Tuesday.

“We’re hoping, really, that it doesn’t mean anything significant,” said Haarbosch.

In the last few years, police have seen “a trend where we have a new, latest, greatest device be released” and an uptick in robberies was noted after a couple of months.

“But that predates the existence of the blacklist,” said Haarbosch, noting cops are hoping it mitigates the pattern since the stolen phones can’t be used to send and receive messages.

Using an IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, numbers for devices reported as lost or stolen are recorded and cannot be reactivated.

The service is free, however, consumers must contact wireless providers — and police, if it’s stolen — to have their device deactivated in order for it to be added to the blacklist.

“I’d also like to think that maybe some of the public messaging that we’re getting out there is taking hold,” said Haarbosch, “and people are becoming a little more self-aware that these incidents are going on and are taking some steps to prevent themselves from becoming a victim.”

Updated figures from the blacklist should be available in November, said Choma.

“That’s good,” he said, when told of the decrease in local robberies.

“Hopefully, the database is helping with that.”

Twitter: @kellyroche6



Personal robberies & swarmings

(Sept. 4, 2013 to Sept. 4, 2014)

Source: Ottawa Police

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