04/23/2013 04:29 EDT | Updated 06/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Muggings target students walking home in Montreal West

Kids in several Montreal neighbourhoods are being advised to keep a careful watch on their smartphones and travel in groups after a series of muggings.

Montreal police say the robberies seem to be singling out students travelling alone on their way home from school. In some of the incidents, the thieves asked for the time and when the target took out a smart phone or iPod to check, it was snatched.

Police say they believe a group of older teens is responsible for the muggings, but they do not believe they are gang-related. The thefts have mostly been in the Westmount, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Montreal West districts.

The Royal West Academy in Montreal West is taking a preventative approach by increasing students' street smarts. Two of the school's students have had gadgets stolen by in the past week.

Royal West Vice Principal Nick Stamiris says he is doing his best to inform students “without at the same time trying to cause any panic.”

Montreal police have also assigned extra officers to patrol the Montreal West area after school hours.

“We're sharing info with other police stations to see if they have the same problem as we do,” Montreal West Police Cmdr. Sylvain Bissonnette said.

He suggests that students travel in groups, keep electronics hidden away when they're not in use, and to be aware of people who might be following them. Bissonnette also says it's better for students to hand over their possessions rather than risk being injured.

Police are working on gathering a list of suspects as they continue to investigate.