12 MARCH 2014 BY SAM SHELTON, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
The Baltimore County ban on cell phone recycling kiosks like ecoATM will go into effect this spring, following its unanimous passage by the Baltimore County Council. According to the Baltimore Sun, the ban, which was proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, will see that such kiosks are removed from public businesses and locations in an effort to cut down the county’s number of cellphone related thefts.
While this ban does not affect the University, due to campus’ lack of ecoATM machines, cell phone theft is not an issue the Towson University Police Department is familiar with.
“In 2013 TU had 27 thefts involving cellular telephones. These incidents accounted for 25 percent of the total thefts reported on campus,” TUPD’s Deputy Chief of Police Joseph Herring said in an email.
As 2014 has only just begun, it may be too early to claim any improvement, though Herring said only three cellphone related thefts have been reported to TUPD thus far.
As for the areas and communities that surround Towson University, Vice President of Towson Area Citizens on Patrol Pat France said that there has been a decrease in cell phone related crime.
“COP has noticed that cell phone crime has diminished but is still out there. There are still students, adults and all kinds of people thinking they are immune to criminals,” France said in an email. “They walk across York Road and other streets in Towson not looking up for their own safety.”
France also says that the Baltimore County Council’s kiosk ban may have already affected the community positively.
“As for the cell phone recycling kiosks, they have been shut down and it has made a difference,” France said, though she added that she only knows as much from COP observation and “listening to Captain Howard of [BCPD’s] Precinct Six recently talking about that very topic.”
Despite these possible improvements, France cautions students and community members to be careful when it comes to using cell phones and other devices in public.
“Now that the weather is finally getting nicer, people will be out even more and hopefully they will be aware of their surroundings and keep the phones in their pockets or purse until they are off the street,” France said. “Nothing is that important that can’t wait a few minutes till you get to a safe place to check your phone.