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Police Starts Electronic Data Bank for Suspected Stolen Phones

Suspected phone snatchers and buyers at Kiwatule
Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area –KMP have started a data bank for over 14000 suspected stolen phones.

A team of 14 Information Communication Technology – ICT officers from Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID headquarters at Kibuli are at the KMP headquarters at Kampala Central Police Station –CPS to help start an electronic records centre for all stolen phones in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts.

Charles Twine, the CID Spokesperson confirmed to Uganda Radio Network that CID officers were helping in setting up a records centre for stolen phones in Kampala and neighbouring districts but declined to reveal names of officers doing the job.

Nevertheless, a police source said KMP has decided to have an electronic data centre for all stolen phones because of the growing number of suspected stolen phones exhibits in their stores.

A source said that at least 14000 phones that were confiscated from operations against dealers of stolen phones and those recovered from suspects have not been claimed. They are being documented for future reference and easy access in case owners eventually show up.

This, according to the source, is intended to understand the kind of phones mostly targeted by robbers, street muggers, time when most phone thefts are registered and spots where police would need to increase presence of covert officers.

When asked to comment about the data bank being established, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, said stolen phone documentation is part of ongoing investigations that cannot be discussed in the media.

A source privy to what the data bank will look like said key details being picked on all the phones picked from different CID offices of the 18 Police Divisions that make up KMP include Mobile Equipment Identifier –MEID serial number. MEID or IMEI is a special number use to identify a physical piece of Code Division Multiple Access, which is a competing cell phone service technology.

Other details include; year of manufacture, former user of the phone and people whom the owner often contacted. Police say people report cases of phone theft but very few bother following up. Some just buy new phones, replace or buy new SIM Cards.

Despite the recent joint security operations where 2500 were confiscated from shops suspects to be dealing in stolen phones, police said in all operations targeting phone snatchers in areas of Kisenyi, Katwe, Entebbe Road, Kampala Road and at traffic lights, owners don’t come to pick their phones.

The source said the 14-member team records about 200 phones lost every day and this is because they have to liaise with data picked from communications service providers and records at Uganda Communications Commission – UCC.

The 14000 suspected stolen phones were recovered in the last two years, according to  police sources. CID records of 2018 show 6,205 cases of mobile phone thefts were reported which presented a 1 percent increase compared 6,117 of the preceding years.

CID took 2085 suspects to court of which 730 were convicted, thirty-six were acquitted, three hundred were dismissed for lack of evidence whereas 942 were still being heard in different courts of law.

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