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Cell, iPod distractions leading to crimes

September 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police say there is a growing problem with thieves and muggers preying on people distracted by the high-tech gadgets they're using. They're warning people to be more aware of their surroundings.Police said people who text or are distracted while listening to music as they walk down the streets are becoming victims of crime, particularly in downtown Los Angeles.

"People are walking around the street in public with their head down texting and thinking about a conversation, rather than up looking around them, and it's given criminals an opportunity to snatch these cell phones and iPods out of people's hands in broad daylight," said Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Humberto Correa, of Los Angeles, said he had no idea he could be a potential victim.

"I'm very focused on my e-mail or my texting or my phone calls," Correa said. "It's scary. This is crazy. I never thought about it. I'll be watching my back now, I guess."

Dan Han admits he's clueless of his surroundings while he's texting on his cell phone.

"I'm guilty of it," said the Canoga Park resident. "I should be a little bit better about that, but it happens."

"We have almost 400 robberies and grand thefts downtown," Vernon said. "Not every single one of those related to texting, but about 70 of those are related to people's cell phones or iPods being taken."

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