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What's a good way (face to face) to prevent theft of an item like your smartphone?

asked Nov 28 '12 at 01:20

WaffleTear's gravatar image


edited Nov 28 '12 at 18:08

Fogarty's gravatar image

Fogarty ♦♦

Get a permit and get your self a decent handgun or rifle, then when someone robs you for your phone, give it to them and then also give them a bullet or 10 the moment they step back. If enough people do this you will see muggings stop as the risk vs reward (reward being what you can loot from someones pocket) will be too high.

Another option is to avoid using a smartphone, (most smartphones get used for just answering calls and texting.)

Get a standard cellphone (the battery will last 1-2 weeks depending on use)

then get a MP3 player with physical buttons so you don't need to take it out of your pocket to change songs, adjust volume and other functions.

(when it comes to audio hardware, smartphones often use lower quality amps and other audio processing hardware compared to a decent MP3 player.)

avoid this https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sMn-RhJRSnk#t=19s

by simply keeping the device in your pocket when out in public. (the most effective way to accomplish this is to have a device that can be used and interacted with without removing it from your pocket)

PS if you decide to go the 9mm to 50cal route (depending on your neighborhood) check to make sure your state has a stand your ground style law first.

answered Nov 28 '12 at 20:59

Razor512's gravatar image


what you are saying is illegal in most states. you give him the phone and he walks away you no longer can claim self defense and if you shoot him once it is second degree assault or murder, if you shoot him 10 times self defense or not, it is excessive. Do not take this advice.

Avoiding using a smart phone defeats the point of this question, we already are assuming you will carry a smart phone.

an MP3 player lacks much the functionality of a cellphone, and people may still want to steal them

(Nov 28 '12 at 21:06) trueb trueb's gravatar image

also if you shoot someone with a rifle there is no way you can claim self defense, rifles are an offensive weapon.

(Nov 28 '12 at 21:07) trueb trueb's gravatar image

One more thing "stand your ground" laws just state you do not have to try to retrete before defending yourself. shooting someone after they got your phone and are walking away is taking an offensive approach and is why Zimmerman is in so much truble right now.

(Nov 28 '12 at 21:08) trueb trueb's gravatar image

The second the person attempts to take the device from you it constitutes battery and possibly even assault. Obviously if you just give it up to them then this reasoning is invalid.

Depending on your location and its laws the above could very well justify a "Stand Your Ground" style defense. If it does you'd have no trouble defending yourself in court, if it were to even go that far.

The advice about shooting someone ten times is bad however, the second you do that you're being excessive and in most cases will immediately destroy any possibility for a "Self-Defense" defense in court. To be fair however, very rarely you may be able to talk your way out of it, citing emotional stress, but that usually doesn't work so it's best to avoid it all together.

The advice about getting a feature phone really isn't all that useful, sure a lot of people use their smartphone as a feature phone but that doesn't mean they need to switch back, especially since most people still use it for more than just calling and texting.

To address the Zimmerman case that @trueb mentioned he isn't really in all that much trouble (now, compared to when this originally went to the national news) in all reality he will likely walk or face reduced sentencing and charges.

(Nov 28 '12 at 22:10) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

First of all "Stand your ground" means you stand your ground, shooting someone in the back as they walk away with your phone is not standing your ground.

Stand your ground laws only mean that you do not have to make an effort to get away from the situation, but if you hand your phone over to the guy, and shoot him, that is not standing your ground.

as for Zimmerman, no charges have yet be reduced or dropped and the trial is still set for June, so he is still in quite a bit of trouble.

(Nov 28 '12 at 22:41) trueb trueb's gravatar image

you don't wait until they turn their back, if they come for the cellphone, you don't know if the criminal will decide that his or her odds of getting arrested goes down if there are no witnesses . if they mug you for your wallet or phone, hand it to them just make sure that a few bullets also goes their way.

The second they take their eyes off of the hand you will use to reach for the gun, you take the shot.

When you are in danger, it is up to you to protect yourself. The police will not protect you. Remember, when seconds count, the police are minutes away. When was the last time you saw a report of the police making it in time to stop a crime in progress, The vast majority of what happens is the crime happens then the police show up (after the damage is done. while some people feel safe with calling 911, think about this, will the police bring back a loved one who was killed by some criminal, will they pay to replace what was long if someone steals your stuff (no).

When someone commits a crime, they are doing a cost/ benefit analysis, and getting rid of someone who can identify or provide a detailed description of them, significantly lowers the cost of doing the crime. and if they are willing to commit the crime of initiating force/violence against someone, there is no way to tell how far they are willing to go. Would you trust a violent criminal with your life?

(Nov 28 '12 at 23:52) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

@trueb No one is arguing that shooting someone as they walk away after taking your property is an applicable use of the law and the defenses it provides.

(Nov 28 '12 at 23:59) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

also wanted to add that all weapons are offensive, including your fists and legs. A car and even a frozen loaf of bread is an offensive weapon. just about any object can be used for defense and offense.

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:11) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

If you give it to them, are you at risk for your life any more? that is what most states will look at when a judge looks at your self defense case.

"When you are in danger*, it is up to you to protect yourself." once again, if the mugger is happy with your phone or wallet and will leave you alone, are you in danger?

Besides, is shooting or killing anyone worth the price of a cellphone?

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:39) trueb trueb's gravatar image

My refusal to give someone my property when threatened or otherwise does not give anyone the right to assault me or do me or anyone else and physical harm. Period. End of story. No judge or juror in their right mind will say that.

"Is shooting of killing anyone worth the price of a cellphone?" No, the issue isn't them taking the phone, the issue is them attacking you, again, if I refuse to give someone my property and they attack me, and I protect myself, regardless of whether or not I use a weapon, no one will say "You should have just given them your property".

The only time I think I've ever heard anyone say that is when the prosecuting attorney is trying to make a point, and it almost never works out.

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:49) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

the issue is " if the mugger is happy" many home invasions end up with entire families getting killed by the robber, (it is not too uncommon to see elderly people and even children getting killed during a home break in) Suppose you area young adult and are pretty strong, what is a 5 or 6 year old kid going to do with a stronger adult? The issue is that criminals don't like witnesses so there is always an incentive for them to make sure that no one will give a description. (Why do you see reports on the news of people getting mugged and stabbed or killed?)

When it comes to humans, nothing is 100% and nothing is 0%. If you could predict human behavior then you could end 100% of all crime as. Since behavior is largely unpredictable, there is a chance that the criminal will just decide that dead men tell no tales.

(Nov 29 '12 at 01:23) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

Now we are talking about home invasions, a different topic in my opinion, not simple cellphone theft in public.

(Nov 29 '12 at 09:47) trueb trueb's gravatar image

there is no shortage of mugging-murder cases

google it and you will find hundreds of thousands of results.

The sad truth is that you never know if a criminal will be happy with just your phone. And with so many cases of them robbing and killing, it means that your life is in danger the moment they make contact with you and long after they get your belongings

(Nov 29 '12 at 10:18) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image
showing 5 of 13 show all

I might get flamed for this, but I'd give him the good ol' Bronx Beat-down. I mean here in the city, you have to know how to defend yourself such as keeping your things close and if the occasion arises beat his ass. Don't resort to this unless necessary but yeah.

answered Nov 28 '12 at 21:38

DJ%20Scooby%20Doo's gravatar image

DJ Scooby Doo

give it to him and report it stolen as soon as possible, no since getting hurt over a smart phone.

answered Nov 28 '12 at 20:41

trueb's gravatar image


also would be a good idea to have some kind of tracking, remote lock, and remote erase software on it...

(Nov 28 '12 at 20:41) trueb trueb's gravatar image

since that is becoming more common, it is likely that the criminal will take precautions. (eg shutting it off, wrapping it in foil. When you report a phone as stolen, you will almost never get it back and the police almost never investigate the crimes involving theft (unless it is a extremely high value theft, eg robbing a bank)

if people keep taking the stance of just give everything to the criminal in hopes of not getting hurt, then you will only get more criminals, as they will get the message that they can rob people without worrying about getting hurt in the process. (in states where gun ownership is very high (especially when the number of people with carry permits is high, the rate of muggings are extremely low (generally a fraction of the rate of people who live in states with heavy gun control (eg NY )

When law abiding people have the ability to defend them self (especially with a equalizing weapon), the opportunity cost of committing a violent crime against another individual becomes too high for it to be worth mugging someone for their wallet or phone.

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:04) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

It's good to see the FCC is working on a solution for this issue.

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:53) Zbob750 Zbob750's gravatar image

heres the problem. I live in canada you can't own a gun unless your the police.

answered Nov 29 '12 at 00:24

WaffleTear's gravatar image



in that case then get decent pocket knife. If they try to rob you and you feel you can take them then go for it. If you can hand them the phone and have them look at it while you quickly ready the knife to to give them a few "pokes :)"

The police don't have some magical power to detect when someone is in danger, then magically teleport to your rescue.

While some criminals will just rob you, some will decide that witnesses are bad for the businesses of crime and will take steps to ensure that there are none.

When faced with a criminal, use the strongest weapon at your disposal (the police do the same). Run at a cop with a knife or even balled up fist in an aggressive manner and they are likely to shoot you.

While some will just say do what ever the criminal wants in the hopes that they wont kill you, there is no guarantee of that and would you really want to trust a violent criminal with your life?

Have the means to protect yourself, even if the law does not allow it, be ready to seriously injure or kill the criminal, it is better to get a record and still be alive than it is to be one cellphone short and also dead because the criminal did not want any witnesses.

If you can afford to lose the item and can quickly get to safety and the criminal does not have a gun, then you could probably give them the item and then run to safety but just know that the odds of the criminal killing you goes up significantly if you see anything that can help you give the police a description of him or her.

I am not saying this to do any fear mongering or anything, I am just being realistic. look as the crime statistics for your area and understand what happens when a criminal does not want witnesses and have the means to protect yourself because there will not be someone to come to your rescue every second of the day.

(Nov 29 '12 at 00:40) Razor512 Razor512's gravatar image

Don't carry a weapon; you'll just risk having turned on you unless you're Chuck Norris.

answered Nov 29 '12 at 10:05

Harold's gravatar image


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Asked: Nov 28 '12 at 01:20

Seen: 896 times

Last updated: Nov 29 '12 at 10:19