It seems that big-city criminals have a new technique that's causing problems to police and residents.
Los Angeles police are ... warning residents of the continuing trend of follow-home robberies.
Suspects in follow-home robberies target victims in affluent areas of Los Angeles, follow them until they are in a remote area and rob them. The Los Angeles Police Department announced a "Follow Home Task Force" on Nov. 23 in response to the crimes.
Police are investigating a video of one such alleged incident, where a group of reported thieves wearing "police-type" gear attacked a group of victims outside a home before forcing their way inside.
A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson told Fox News earlier this month that follow-home robberies seem to be "popping up everywhere" in the city.
There's more at the link.
In some cases, the thieves are using high-tech methods to identify potential targets and zero in on their homes.
The $29 AirTag devices that Apple released in April to help users keep track of belongings are being repurposed by crooks to steal cars, according to a police report out of Ontario, Canada.
Investigators with the York Regional Police Auto and Cargo Theft Unit in Aurora are warning area residents that they’ve “identified a new method being used by thieves to track and steal high-end vehicles” across the region, the department warned in a Thursday blog post.
Officers reported they’ve looked into five incidents since September in which suspects used the unassuming tracking technology to commit grand theft auto.
The suspects go about the crime by placing the easily missed tracking devices on the luxury rides in “out-of-sight areas” while they’re parked in “public places like malls or parking lots.” Then, once the unsuspecting owner has driven the car home, the thieves track the vehicle to the victim’s residence.
Criminals are able to hack the vehicle’s ignition with an electronic device “typically used by mechanics to reprogram the factory setting” before driving off from the victim’s driveway in their own car.
Again, more at the link.
I'll be very surprised if this new technique is limited only to Canada. It also appears to be in use to target individuals, not just their vehicles. There have been several reports of Apple iPhone users who've been notified by their software that an AirTag is moving with them. Some have been able to find the device; others have not. Apple says any such devices can be disabled, but doesn't provide details on its Web site. In particular, such warnings are only provided through Apple devices. If you're using an Android smartphone or other non-Apple device, you won't receive any warning. In an age of "follow-home robberies" and higher crime rates, this is enough to worry me.
As always, we're our own primary safety and security - not the police or any other external agency. We'll do well to keep such risks in mind, particularly if we're living in or near a major city.