Tag Archives: cell phone

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Says She Wasn’t Using Cell Phone At Time Of Crash

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan was involved in a minor vehicle collision in West Oakland this evening and has said that she was not on her cellphone at the time of the crash.

Police said the two-vehicle collision was reported at 5:39 p.m. near the intersection of 26th and Market streets in West Oakland.

According to statements released at about 10 p.m. this evening through the Mayor’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, she said she was driving between two community events when another vehicle struck her vehicle’s left-rear tire.

“I immediately pulled over and checked to make sure no one was hurt: it appeared everyone was all right and their well-being was my first priority,” Quan said in a Facebook post.

Quan has been photographed in recent weeks using a mobile device inside her vehicle, but said that she was not using a cellphone at the time of today’s crash.

“Police are investigating what led to the collision and I’m going to let them do their job and report out the details. I am also submitting my phone records to the investigators, which will confirm that I was not on my phone at the time,” Quan said.

The cause of the collision remains under investigation, police said.

Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News

A Beastly Valentine: “Love Calls of the Wild” Ringtones Let You Show Your Love For The Animals (Video)

A Valentine memento of “Love Calls of the Wild” cellphone ringtones is being offered by a conservation group dedicated to protecting endangered species.

The 25 choices of mating and social calls by endangered and rare species can be downloaded for free from the Center for Biological Diversity’s website at http://www.rareearthtones.org/ringtones/index.html.

The calls include sounds from orcas, polar bears, pikas, spotted owls, whooping cranes, penguins, toads and prairie dogs.

The love calls selection is part of the center’s endangered species ringtones program, which offers sound clips from more than 100 species. The ringtones have been downloaded about 620,000 times by people in nearly 180 countries since 2006, according to the center.

“These ringtones are a great way to show your love for the wild on Valentine’s Day,” said center programs director Pete Galvin.

Galvin said the ringtones can act as conversation starters about endangered species.

“Someone overhears one of the sounds and finds they’re suddenly talking with someone else about the plight of an endangered species.

“It’s a powerful tool that we hope sparks an interest in saving imperiled animals around the globe,” Galvin said.

The center is based in Tucson, Ariz., and has offices in California, eight other states and Washington, D.C.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

Lawmakers Brace For Mobile Company Opposition After Announcing Bill To Require Smartphone Kill Switches

A growing epidemic of smartphone thefts prompted state lawmakers to announce today new legislation that would require the devices to come equipped with an anti-theft deterrent known as a “kill switch.”

More than 50 percent of all robberies in San Francisco involve the theft of a mobile phone, a rate that rises to 75 percent in Oakland, according to Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

“It’s a public safety crisis,” said Leno, who unveiled details of SB 962 along with Assemblymember Nancy Skinner at a news conference this morning in San Francisco.

Under the bill, all smartphones sold starting on Jan. 1, 2015, would come pre-equipped with theft-deterring technology that renders the phone useless if stolen. Consumers would have the choice to opt out of the kill switch.

The thefts can turn fatal, as in the case of 23-year-old Megan Boken, who was murdered in St. Louis in 2012 when two thieves stole her cell phone as she was talking to her mother.

Boken’s father Paul Boken was present at today’s news conference and said the implementation of anti-theft software on smartphones was “very personal” to him.

Boken, who lived in Southern California for 40 years, said his daughter was getting into her car in the middle of the day in a residential neighborhood in St. Louis when two thieves robbed her of her iPhone and shot her as she was speaking on the phone with her mother.

“What happened to my precious daughter Megan could happen to anyone,” Boken said.

Leno said smartphone thefts are a “crime of convenience” that will end if there’s a kill switch to give thieves no use for stolen cellphones.
“We end the convenience, we end the crime,” he said.

But while a kill switch may seem like an easy solution to smartphone thefts, lawmakers said smartphone manufacturers and carriers stand to profit financially from these crimes.

The replacement of lost and stolen smartphones and tablets is a $30 billion business in the U.S., according to Leno.

Additionally, the nation’s four biggest wireless carriers make about $7.8 billion on theft and loss insurance products.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan also attended today’s event in support of the bill, as did San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr.

Suhr called the theft of a smartphone a “violent crime” and said the passing of the bill would be vital.

“I can’t imagine somebody would vote against it,” Suhr said. “It’s crazy to think we can arrest our way out of it, when we can just make the device not worth stealing.”

SB 962 will be heard in Senate policy committees later this spring. The bill would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Laura Dudnick, Bay City News

The Lunar New Year’s A Big Time For Crime: City Officials Send Alerts To SF’s Asian Community

Thousands of safety information packets and red envelopes stuffed with crime prevention tips were ready to be distributed to merchants and residents in San Francisco’s Chinatown this morning by the city police chief and other volunteers in preparation for the Lunar New Year.

For the 17th year, community group Safety Awareness For Everyone, or SAFE, kicked off a public safety and crime campaign, with public safety officials and community groups gathered at the gates of Chinatown.

In an effort to reduce crime during New Year festivities, which start on Jan. 31, the safety community is working to share crime prevention tips with community members.

More than 1,200 packets were passed out to stores throughout the neighborhood to prepare them to fight crime during the New Year.

Police Chief Greg Suhr said extortion, burglary, robbery and other crimes have a history of creeping up during the holidays.

Suhr noted prevention techniques have been working in the past few years with only one extortion case reported last year.

He alluded to other crimes from previous years that targeted the Asian community, including a “blessing scam,” in which the scammer offered spiritual assurance of health and prosperity in exchange for money or valuables.

“We want to make sure no one falls prey to that,” Suhr said.

He advised that although gun violence is down in Chinatown and across the city, property crime is up and shoppers, tourists and residents alike should watch their electronic devices.

Suhr said a cellphone theft “can be prevented by being aware.”

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon emphasized what he called “the importance of working together” to keep crime down during celebrations and preparations for the Year of the Horse.

He called 2013 “a good year for reducing crime and fraud in Chinatown” and said his office continues to funnel resources and services for Chinatown merchants and residents, including those with limited English skills.

City Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu said in a bilingual message to be careful and aware.

She advised locking windows and doors and keeping valuables out of sight—especially with red envelopes filled with cash known to be lying around during this time of year.

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee reflected on crime that was “rampant” when he was growing up in Chinatown decades ago and noted the safer streets in recent years.

However, he said he continues to tell Chinatown residents to always report crimes to help police track patterns and criminals.

In the red envelopes distributed by SAFE, a small pamphlet detailed safety measures to take including reporting crimes by calling 911 and protecting electronic devices by keeping them stowed away.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Suspect In Rash Of Cell Phone Robberies Caught In The Alleged Act

A man arrested for a robbery of a cellphone store in San Francisco earlier this month has been tied to five other similar robberies recently, a police spokeswoman said today.

Christopher Bailey, 38, was arrested after robbing the business in the 1500 block of Sloat Boulevard on Oct. 5. Officers surrounded the area and arrested him following a brief foot pursuit, police said.

Following the arrest, Bailey was also linked to five other cellphone store robberies elsewhere in San Francisco since early September, police spokeswoman Sgt. Danielle Newman said.

The heists occurred at about 5:15 p.m. on Sept. 7 in the 200 block of West Portal Avenue, at 5:08 p.m. on Sept. 12 at Mission and Ney streets, at about 11:40 a.m. on Sept. 18 in the 300 block of Ashton Avenue, around 2:25 p.m. on Oct. 2 in the 1800 block of Irving Street and at about 10:50 a.m. on Oct. 4 in the 2000 block of Irving, Newman said.

Bailey has been booked into custody on suspicion of eight counts of robbery, one count of possession of stolen property and resisting arrest, according to police.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Bay Area Residents Still Vibrating Over Amber Alert Text Message

Some Bay Area residents were jolted awake Monday night when they received unexpected Amber Alerts about two siblings who were reported missing out of San Diego County.

Just before 11 p.m., an emergency alert sounded on mobile devices alerting Californians that an Amber Alert had been issued and that authorities were looking for a blue four-door Nissan Versa with California license plate number 6WCU986.

The alert was for Hannah Anderson, 16, and her brother, 8-year-old Ethan Anderson, who were reported missing Monday night. The previous day, their mother was found dead inside the burned home of 40-year-old James Lee DiMaggio in the San Diego County community of Boulevard.

DiMaggio is suspected of kidnapping the children and authorities say he may be headed to Texas or Canada in the Nissan.

The Amber Alerts to cellphones were sent out as part of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, which was rolled out nationwide at the start of this year by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The alerts are designed to inform people of emergencies, including extreme weather or natural disasters. They are received by certain, newer cellphones that have the built-in capability to receive them.

The alert, which looks like a text message, is short with basic information about the incident and instructions for any follow-up action to take. The message causes a special tone and vibration in the phone that is receiving it.

San Francisco resident Todd Lappin, 46, said his phone started making an “unholy noise” while he was having a drink with a friend. He said it was a sound the gadget had never made before, and was reminiscent of emergency alerts that interrupt TV and radio broadcasting.

He said it seemed like his phone had gone into “nuclear attack mode.”

After seeing that it was an Amber Alert and not news that “the Soviets are attacking,” “it prompted me to dismiss it and roll my eyes.”

However, he said he supports the intentions behind the notification system.

“I’m glad to know that it exists, but if you are going to activate that you have to be careful when you use it,” he said.

“The last thing you want is people to unsubscribe or start tuning it out,” he said.

Lappin is worried that the annoying sound and seemingly random message—the alert had no background on the kidnapping or the missing children—will discourage people from using the notification system.

“It should be for imminent danger that we should all be aware of,” he said. “That’s what I expect to hear when there’s an earthquake, or something where I need to take action.”

Cellphone owners who received the alerts can “opt out” by changing the settings on their phones. Those having trouble doing so can contact their service providers for assistance.

Amber Alerts are issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which works with local authorities, including the California Highway Patrol, to send out the message.

The CHP sends out the alerts through a variety of channels, including social media, but it is FEMA that sends out the phone alerts.

Sean Finerty, a San Francisco resident, was awakened by the blaring noise from his phone and said it was startling.

“For the longest time I thought it was the fire alarm or burglar alarm of another building in my alley. Eventually, I realized my phone was lit up and was the source of the sound, but I thought my phone had some weird error and was about to blow up,” he said.

The 25-year-old said he does not plan to opt out of receiving the alerts.

“I’d like to help out if possible with an Amber Alert,” he said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Off Duty Cop Narrowly Escapes Injury In Pursuit Of Alleged Cell Phone Thief

A man allegedly stole a phone and then tried to stab an off-duty police officer who chased after him in San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday afternoon, police said today.

Daniel Dearman, 33, was arrested following an incident that began at about 4:30 p.m. Friday when the off-duty officer saw him allegedly steal a cellphone from a business near the intersection of 19th and San Carlos streets, according to police.

The officer identified himself as police as he pursued Dearman, who pulled out a knife and allegedly tried to stab the officer, police said.

The officer was able to avoid the attack and restrained the suspect until on-duty officers were able to arrive and taken him into custody.

Dearman was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide of a police officer, robbery, resisting arrest and violation of probation, police spokesman Sgt. Dennis Toomer said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News