With a rash of cell phone thefts in the Harlem-Morningside Heights-Columbia University area, some wary residents are admitting that maybe walking and talking on the cell phones isn't the greatest idea. One pointed out that the increasingly-popular smartphones cost $300-600 a pop and told WCBS 2, "Sometimes somebody could come and grab your phone or take anything from you, because you’re not paying attention to what’s going on." And a former cop-turned-self-defense expert suggests smartphone owners get hands-free headsets.
Frank Drake said, "A cell phone is a device which causes you to split your concentration," and people should just stay off the phone if they are walking around. But, "If you really have to be walking and talking you should be using a hands-free to at least free up your hands so you can look around and see where you’re going," and then you can keep your phone hidden.
In addition to the cell phone snatchings mentioned yesterday—which were on West 110th and Broadway, West 110th and Morningside Drive, and West 113th, Columbia University also sent an alert to students about a cell phone robbery right near a dorm: "On September 29, 2010, at about 9:12 p.m. a student was the victim of a cell phone snatch on W. 116 St. at the Wien Gate. The student was followed by two males... who accosted her from behind, and grabbed her cell phone as she was entering the Wien Gate. The victim struggled with one of the suspects and fell to the ground. The suspects fled towards Morningside Drive, and then into Morningside Park."