Cell phone theft is on the rise in Mexico City: the Attorney General’s Office (PGJ) investigated 21,722 cases in 2018, an average of 60 cell phones stolen every day.
There were significantly fewer incidents the previous year: a total of 14,141 cases for an average of 39 phones stolen daily in 2017. In 2016, 7,314 cell phones were reported stolen, an average of 20 a day.
Since 2016, the frequency of cell phone theft has shot up by 197%.
Thefts conducted using violence far outweighed those in which force was not used last year, and the use of violence has become far more prevalent than it was in 2016.
Last year, cell phone theft with violence was the fourth most common crime in Mexico City behind general larceny in which 14,487 cases were investigated, non-violent robbery of businesses — 15,138 cases and domestic violence — 19,974 cases.
However, authorities have also cracked down on some cell phone thieves.
Yesterday, the Mexico City Metro announced the arrest of “El Chocorrol,” the suspected leader of a band of thieves who operated in Tacuba Station on Line 2. He was identified by police on security cameras.
Authorities said the group selected their victims during rush hour. One gang member would push and shove the unwitting commuter, while another took advantage of the distraction to relieve him of his cell phone or wallet.
Officials continue to search for another four gang members. In the meantime, they urged citizens who believed they might have been robbed by El Chocorrol to report the crime to police as evidence.