Police are reminding residents to keep their personal belongings out of view after a slight increase in street robberies since the start of May.
Across Basildon and Thurrock, six people were victims of robbery in the first week of May, compared to three the previous week.
In one of the incidents, at 4.40pm on Friday, May 6 in Grays High Street, a 29-year-old woman was walking on the pavement when a suspect grabbed her by the wrist to snatch her Blackberry mobile phone from her hand, worth an estimated £250. She didn’t sustain any visible injuries, but would have been left very shaken by the ordeal.
Steven Greener, Essex Police community safety manager for Basildon and Thurrock, said: “I know that people often talk on their mobile phones or listen to Ipod’s whilst they are walking around, but this just provides a walking advert for thieves and shows them what you have to steal.
“Talking or listening to music also makes you less aware of your surroundings, and you are less likely to spot someone following you or behaving suspiciously if you are engaged in something else, so our advice is keep it hidden from view and stay alert.
“The amount of robberies in Basildon and Thurrock are still relatively low, but one victim is one too many, so we are urging the public to heed our advice to stop them falling foul of these callous thieves.”
Schools officers in Basildon and Thurrock will be visiting schools to give safety talks to youngsters, and to advise them to keep all their valuables hidden. Officers will also be offering property marking, which will allow police to identify any seized goods as stolen, and allow them to be reunited with their owners.
If you would like further crime prevention advice please contact Basildon crime reduction officer Michael Armstrong or Thurrock crime reduction officer Alan Twine on 0300 333 4444.