MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Cell phone thefts are up in the Twin Cities, and across the country, according to authorities.

To help combat the recent spike, AT&T and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office joined forces to announce the “Protect My Cell Phone” public awareness campaign.

The campaign aims to educate the public on new safety measures for cell phones and how to protect personal information on mobile devices.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said the most important thing anyone can do is be aware of their surroundings.

He said smartphone users shouldn’t set the phone on the table in public or be holding it on the bus.

AT&T Vice President Lane Mansell agreed with Stanek.

“As our customers become aware of the applications and features they can do to safeguard their data and their phones after the theft has taken place, it reduces the value of the phone,” Mansell said.

The program highlights numerous apps that are available for users to protect their data, including some that lock the phone remotely, trigger an alarm, track the device or wipe the phone remotely.

If a phone is stolen, the first thing the owner should do is report it to the wireless provider, then police.

For more information, visit AT&T online, or AT&T’s stolen phone webpage.