Many people regard their cellphones as a communication tool, little knowing they own devices that are instrumental in fighting crime. Constantia Watch is urging residents to set up their phones for tracking.Kate Ashton, in charnge of the watch’s communications and operations, says every resident should do it and it’s free. “A phone can be stolen or lost in so many different ways. A lot of information can be lost and this is what most people are worried about, not knowing that if it’s set up for tracking it can help catch criminals. “Recently in our area there was a hijacking and the owner of the car didn’t have a tracker. The car owner had activated his phone for tracking and that was used to find the criminals and the car. A lot of people don’t know how powerful the cellphone is,” she says.Time is the biggest factor. “In most instances a phone will be switched off after an hour. If you know that your phone is lost and you are a contributing member, you can call the Constantia Valley Information Centre (Cvic) and they will help you track the phone. The Cvic works with police and the neighbourhood watch. “We are urging people not to call their phones as soon as they discover that it is lost. This is what most people will do, but by so doing you will never get the phone and the criminal will get away with the crime. If you call the criminal what will you say to them: ‘Give back my phone?’ People must also stop pushing the sound button. It will alert the criminals that the phone is being looked for. Let the police do it when they locate where the phone is,” says Ashton.Ashton adds that everyone must make sure that his phone is protected by a password. “This will make it difficult for criminals to access your phone. Also give a family member a password and username that will help track the phone. Also set it so that no-one can delete or switch your applications off without putting in a password. Most people will just switch off the ‘Find my phone’ app, making it difficult to track the phone but if you set it, no-one can delete it and it can help a lot.”If you’re a contributing member call the Cvic on 0860 00 2669 and they will help track your cellphone. V To set up your phone for tracking visit http://cvwa.org.za/cell-phone-stolen-track/ and for cellphone safety tips visit http://cvwa.org.za/cell-phone-stolen-or-lost/.