Police in Metro Vancouver are urging the public to be smart with their Smartphones following a dramatic increase in personal electronics thefts.

The most startling statistic comes from Vancouver, where there has been an almost 50 per cent increase in stolen mobile devices over the last two years.

“These include everything from iPhones to Blackberries to small mobile devices which people are carrying every day,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham.

“You can see them on Craigslist, you can see them on eBay… where these devices are easily resold and activated on other networks and are being put back in circulation.”

Transit police say they’re seeing it on and around SkyTrains as well, where the theft of portable electronics is up 21 per cent since August – despite a five per cent overall decline in robberies.

The Transit Police Service says it will soon launch a campaign warning passengers on platforms to put their Smartphones and gadgets away.

The crime has become so prevalent in American cities that it’s been garnered its own nickname: “Apple-picking.”

Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said people can prevent theft by being more discreet with their devices while outdoors.

“When you’re waving it around like this, it’s like waving two or three hundred dollars around openly,” Grainger said.

Police also recommend pedestrians be aware of their surroundings. When listening to music, they suggest using only one ear bud in order to better hear someone approaching.

With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Peter Grainger