Abbotsford Police have stepped up patrols in an area near Sevenoaks Shopping Centre following a series of street robberies.
Const. Ian MacDonald said there have been nine such robberies this year in a triangular-shaped area bordered by Gladwin Road, Ware Street and Bourquin Crescent West.
This area encompasses 35 per cent of the 26 robberies throughout Abbotsford since the beginning of the year, and includes the Bourquin bus loop.
“That’s not off the charts, but it’s enough that we think it’s worthy of additional attention from the police department,” MacDonald said.
He said items such as wallets and purses have been stolen during the day, but electronics – including iPods, cellphones and electronic tablets – seem to be the target during the evening. The thieves either grab the items right out of victims’ hands, or demand that they hand them over.
In one case, the victim was bumped by a man and, while he was distracted, it is believed a second man took his iPhone.
iPhones have also been the targets in four thefts, all involving a man claiming he needs to borrow the victim’s phone to make an urgent call. When the phone is handed over, he runs off with it.
MacDonald advises people to be cautious of their surroundings and to treat their valuables like cash.
“You wouldn’t pull $400 to $800 cash out of your pocket,” he said.
Uniformed and plainclothes officers have been frequenting the area on foot, bicycle and in patrol cars, as well as “blending in” on buses.