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Mexicans buy fake cell phones for handover in Muggings

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Armed robbery is so rampant in Mexico City on buses that commuters find a clever, albeit daunting, solution: many are buying fake cell phones to hand them over to thieves instead of their real smartphones. [19659002] For 300 to 500 pesos apiece – equivalent to 15 to 25 US dollars – the "Dummies" are sophisticated counterfeits: they have a start screen and bodies that eclipse the originals, and inside there is a piece Metal that you can give a gift Call the seriousness of the true article.

This comes in handy when you're trying to trick fake bandits who routinely attack big and small buses and carry people from the poorer suburbs to workplaces in the city center.

] The scene is repeated over and over again, thanks to the cameras that can be seen on many buses today recording the attacks, often late at night or early in the morning: sleepy passengers jump around on the jitneys if one or more two of the men abo ard suddenly pull masks over their faces. One will pull out a weapon while his accomplice walks down the aisle, often with his own weapon, and ask for valuables.

"They're all crappy now! Do not move or you're dead! Phones and purses!" Barks a thief in a recent video, with those who resist or refuse to throw a gun over their heads

Martha Patricia Rocile's Estrada, a schoolteacher from Nezahualcoyotl, a low-income suburb, was herself robbed, and now, she says, most urbanites commute in fear on their daily journey. "Boarding Public transport is now a risk, "said Rociles Estrada," you are making progress, but you never know if you will return. "

" Now you have to be careful to carry money because if you do not "The thieves get angry and you risk them returning. I'll shoot you if you have no money with you."

In Mexico City, in the first four months of the Every year in 201

9, an average of 70 violent robberies were reported. About two-thirds were committed against pedestrians, the rest almost evenly divided between bus passengers and recorded attacks on car drivers at traffic lights or in traffic jams. Between 2017 and 2018, such attacks increased by about 22 percent.

When Rocile's Estrada was robbed at gunpoint several years ago, most people did not carry expensive smartphones.

"They just took everything with me, that's all," she recalled.

The advent of smartphones changed all this. Nowadays, many people have a device worth hundreds of dollars in their pockets, and one that may also contain their bank or credit card information.

This is where "dummy" sellers like Axel come into play. Axel says he sells three or four dummy Axel, who did not want to use his full name out of fear of the police, accusing him of having sold counterfeit goods, said he was sitting next to one on a downtown electronics store a week before his stall College-style colonial building dating back to 1767 on the phone All of its customers know they are buying counterfeits.

"It is useful for robberies, the large number of raids in Mexico City," Axel said. "They say" hand over your phone, give me everything, "and people now know that they need to hand over the phone quickly and in seconds, so they hand over those phones and often the thieves do not notice."

However, Axel admits the victim would be in trouble if a thief caught her handing over a "dummy" phone.

"Obviously there are problems, because if the criminals search for it or find out … there will be a problem. "

For this reason, some try a different strategy and spend a little more to buy a cheap but genuine second phone.

Gloria, who works in a converted piece of art at her own booth on another street across the street -Deko-Filmhaus, said the dummy trade started about 14 years ago, but for various reasons: phone stores would dummies for their showcase buy to protect against another kind of crime, the so-called "sledgehammer crews" who can clear out a jewelry or electronics shop in seconds by window break. [19659002] "In general, the dummy is for a showcase, for people selling real cell phones," Gloria said. "Dummies have been sold here for about 14 years for use in showcases, but nowadays people are buying them to protect their own cell phones."

Gloria sells an iPhone dummy for 300 pesos (15 US dollars) 18,000 pesos (900 US dollars) would cost a real iPhone here.

"In most cases, people want to avoid stealing their phone, as well as their data," says Gloria, who also asked not to use her last name.

] The paranoia about attacks and raids has been compounded by the fact that so many of the raids are now being recorded by surveillance cameras on public buses. The tapes are often featured in news programs that inspire terror to humans.

The government of the eastern district of Ixtapalpa – one of the city's largest and poorest districts – launched a program this week to police the buses to prevent robberies. But even when the program started with fanfares and media photos, some residents were skeptical.

Oscar Armenda, a transport worker who bused in Iztapalapa around noon when the police began to climb aboard, said, "This is good in One Way, but not in a way. "

" You should do this at the time of day, when necessary, at night, not now, "said Armenda.

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