HOW SAFE ARE YOU AND YOUR SMARTPHONE?

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Posted October 8, 2018 from Uganda

According to the Uganda Communications Commission, 70.9% of Ugandans own  a mobile phone of which 15.8% own a smart phone. Youth are at the forefront of smart phone usage at 28% as they have a higher appetite  and they appreciate and understand what a smartphone can do. Behind these figures is a nightmare that has become commonplace in the city. Cases of snatching Smartphones on jam-prone spots in the city are skyrocketing. Most people fall victim to thieves when they are inside vehicles and cannot get the time to pursue the criminals or seek help instantly. Even those who have attempted to chase the thieves end up being assaulted by those criminals. Most of the cases under police investigations point at delinquents operating in groups. The group chooses a member who appears weak in that he will not raise suspicion if he comes closer to someone holding a smartphone. The boy will then snatch the phone from the unsuspecting victim and walk away. “As he walks away, he is being monitored by his fellow gangsters, who are usually able-bodied. When a victim attempts to run after the boy, the gang will attack and beat him or her up.

Our phones enable us to virtually coordinate our personal and professional lives. They have totally changed the way we work as our employers know we are available 24/7. Majority of us have developed a peculiar attachment to our phones. We record moments in our day on our phones through pictures, audio recordings and videos and we are always in reach to our loved ones and friends over social media. Cleverly designed apps connect us to more gadgets, a tablet, a laptop or even security cameras in our homes. We invest in our phones at some level and they are undoubtedly valuable to us. And yes some would argue that smart phones are becoming more accessible to people of different purchasing power, it’s no longer reserved for the elite few.  Select brands are making affordable smart phones sold at lower prices. However not everyone can afford one and so resort to stealing. I guess it’s important to note that some thieves are not stealing because they want a smart phone but to acquire the money they get from selling the phone to a dealer, which is probably peanuts compared to the original price of the phone.

Owning a smartphone is no longer the luxury and prestige it was it is actually a nightmare.   Saturday September 15th 2018 is still fresh in my mind as during that sunny afternoon I was badly hit on my left side of the neck and before I could take a breath my smarphone was gone. It was dear as my brothers had brought it as a Christmas gift for me when they had come home for holiday. I had to nurse the neck pains for three days and you know the nagging questions that always come up from inquisitive people. I had to silently swallow the pain of my neck as well as the loss of the phone. Infact I chose to bury it under the rugs and only confided in my grand mum and a colleague at work. As smart phone owners the streets are not safe anymore one cannot use their phones anyhowly. We women are the biggest victims ofcourse and it is painful especially seeing the thief confidently walk away with your phone and you cannot run after them because of their organised gangs. So for your safety you let it go as long as you are still breathing.

This story was submitted in response to The Future of Security is Women .

Comments 10

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Maya Iwata
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

So sorry to hear about your experience! Where I live in the U.S. mobile phone theft is one the most common crimes so I definitely understand. Please take good care.

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Oct 10, 2018
Oct 10, 2018

Thanks indeed I am now extra careful even with the one am using now some old model alcatel ha ha ha am happy.

Maya Iwata
Oct 10, 2018
Oct 10, 2018

I am glad you are taking precautions to be safe but am sad you need to do this. Society often places many burdens on women to take care of themselves instead of changing society so women are safe. Thinking of you and sending you good thoughts.

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

Dear Jacqueline,

You have raised such an important problem, and I was so sorry to read that you are writing from personal experience, having been attacked and had your phone stolen. So true too, that women are all too often more vulnerable to attacks in the street. We need governments that address poverty and police who create public safety.In the meantime you have raised an awareness of how cell phones can cause extra danger. I hope you are healing from such a nasty attack.

Jacqueline Namutaawe
Oct 10, 2018
Oct 10, 2018

Sweetheart I am healing as the memories keep flashing back and ofcourse I do miss my phone especially when I witness certain funny moments and I cannot capture them as I would have done if I had one. It is interesting am learning to live without a smartphone.

Tarke Edith
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hi dear
I am sorry to hear that be careful with yours sister to us hear it is a crem that deserved santion

Jill Langhus
Oct 09, 2018
Oct 09, 2018

Hello Jacqueline,

Thanks for sharing your sad, and "smart" story. Pun intended:-) I'm sorry to hear about this incident:-(

Good luck with your submission. I hope you have a good/safe day!

Beth Lacey
Feb 18
Feb 18

This is rampant almost everywhere unfortunately. Please stay safe.

Ngala Nadege
Mar 01
Mar 01

Thanks for sharing dear. It's so sad. My country Cameroon face similar issue. They just come near someone holding a phone and seize it and run away. Some will just come and threatens you to hand it over.

Lisbeth
Mar 19
Mar 19

I beg we are not safe ooo. Either its cause accidents or you are fraudulently rob etc. Its sad what is suppose to be a helper is not considered evil in our society.