Wearing This Could Be Attracting Thieves, Police Say
Authorities are urging you to be on high alert if you have this on.
From an expensive smartphone to a loaded wallet, there are plenty of items on our person that thieves would love to get their hands on. But because most of us are always carrying these things around, you're not making yourself any more of a target by having them. Certain other accessories, on the other hand, are more likely to catch a criminal's eye. Police are now warning Americans about a rise in thefts involving something you could be wearing. Read on to find out what you can do to keep yourself safe.
The U.S. sees hundreds of thousands of robberies each year.
No one wants to be accosted by a thief, but the risk is always there. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) latest Uniform Crime Report (UCR), there were roughly 268,000 robberies in the U.S. in 2019, accounting for a total of $428 million in losses. The agency also found that in terms of robbery weapons, strong-arm tactics were most popular and used in 44.8 percent of robberies, while firearms were used in 36.4 percent, and knives or cutting instruments were used in 8.5 percent.
But where are you most likely to be a target? The street or highway, with the FBI reporting that 34.3 percent of the robberies occurred here. Other common locations include commercial houses, residences, convenience stores, and gas stations.
When it comes to what is getting stolen, there's a wide variety of options, of course. But a new warning suggests that something you may be wearing could be extra tempting for criminals.
Police are now warning that theft of a specific accessory is on the rise.
If you're donning a Rolex watch these days, you should be on high alert. Police in Oakland, California, took to their Facebook page on Aug. 18 to warn residents about recent Rolex watch thefts.
According to the post, the Oakland Police Department "executed multiple search warrants" in the city, as well as in neighboring Bay Area cities, over robberies involving the accessory. "Officers arrested two individuals and recovered two firearms with extended magazines, and a Rolex watch in connection with the crimes," the department wrote.
This crime is becoming more common.
According to the Oakland Police Department's Facebook post, the recent arrests are part of an ongoing investigation involving a surge in Rolex watch theft. Authorities have warned residents that "although officers were able to make arrests, these types of robberies are still happening throughout the Bay Area."
In fact, the Oakland Police Department said they have investigated more than 20 robberies involving Rolex watches this year alone. "In most cases, the armed individual(s) approach and forcibly remove the watch from the victim's wrist," police warned. In order to continue to combat this, the department said it will be deploying more officers in Oakland areas "where there is an increase in armed robberies."
Experts say thieves can profit significantly off of these watches.
Thieves are likely looking to cash in by stealing this highly desired item. According to luxury watch magazine Robb Report, most Rolex watches can sell for well above their retail price, even as prices are falling slightly on the secondary market. Paul Alteri, founder of the online pre-owned Rolex dealer Bob's Watches, told the magazine in July that while the 2016 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona retails for $14,550, it's reselling for about $42,000 to $44,000.
"If someone wants to steal a watch, they want to make sure that they'll be able to sell it on black market pretty simply, so bigger name brands oftentimes are subject to a lot of these instances," Marc Hajjar, the director of Hodinkee Insurance, told The New York Times. "The watches that are the most recognizable, the watches that are the most in demand, oftentimes are the ones that fall victim."
Many people have become less comfortable wearing their Rolex watches out as a result—like Troy Barmore, a Brooklyn resident who told The New York Times that he "outright stopped wearing" the stainless steel Rolex Submariner watch his father passed down to him when he rides the subway into Manhattan. If you're still wearing your expensive watch, however, police in Oakland are urging you to "be aware of your surroundings at all times," and to follow two tips to "reduce your risk."
"Do not resist, as property can be replaced," the department said. "Be a good witness and pay attention to the description of the individual or vehicle."