By Tim Jimenez

By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thirty-nine cell phones, on average, were lost or stolen each month last year throughout SEPTA’s mass transit system according to SEPTA transit police. So they kicked off an initiative Friday to remind riders about the steps they can take to protect themselves.

During the next month, if you happen to take your eyes away from your cell phones for a minute, you may notice SEPTA Transit Police officers handing out blue slips of paper on your commute like they did Friday afternoon at the 15th Street station in Center City.

“SEPTA Police are trying to educate our riders on how to install an application that will assist the police in finding a lost or stolen phone,” explained SEPTA’s Chief of Police Thomas Nestell.

They recommend downloading a free “Find My iPhone” or “Find My Phone” app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

“The whole point is to make those phones not so appealing to the criminal,” Nestell said. “We want the criminals to look at a phone and think, ‘Uh oh. Is that going to lead the police to my door?'”

So far this year, SEPTA reports a 41 percent dip in lost or stolen devices. But around the country, Nestell said 113 phones are lost or stolen each minute.

“It’s a problem on the streets. It’s a problem everywhere in the country right now. Every police organization is struggling with the theft of cell phones,” he said.

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