Major crime-ridden cities to meet with smartphone manufacturers to get answers on rising phone thefts

Major crime-ridden cities to meet with smartphone manufacturers to get answers on rising phone theft
In New York and in San Francisco, smartphone theft has become a major problem. From time to time, we pass along the story of a stupid criminal who takes a picture of himself and it ends up helping the cobs nab him. But that happens too infrequently and for the most part, thieves are getting away with the crime. And law enforcement officials in the two cities most affected by this particular crime are blaming the smartphone manufacturers for doing nothing to help solve it. Instead, these officials believe that since companies like Apple and Samsung actually profit from the repurchase of a stolen phone, they have no reason to want to put an end to smartphone robberies.

On June 13th, representatives from smartphone manufacturers like Apple, Motorola, and Samsung will meet with San Francisco's District Attorney George Gascón and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the latter's office. The two law enforcement officials want to know why OEMs have yet to add something to the design of their products that would make it harder for them to steal or less attractive to thieves. Taking a shot at companies like Apple and Samsung, Schneiderman says that these companies need to be "as innovative solving this problem as they have been in designing devices."

During the get together, Gascón and Schneiderman will both call for a way to permanently disable smartphones remotely, removing the incentive for criminals to steal a handset. The FCC and the carriers have come up with a national database using each phone's different IMEI number, but this has not stopped what Gascón calls  "a national epidemic". While smartphone owners can remotely wipe data from a stolen device, that only protects personal information from being misappropriated, not the phone itself.

Last year, 1.6 million Americans were the victim of smartphone theft with the crime representing about half the robberies in San Francisco. In New York, smartphone robberies rose 40% last year from the year before. All across the U.S., the crime cost consumers $30 billion in 2012. Let's hope that someone comes up with a good idea at the meeting.

source: SanFranciscoDA'sOffice via GIGaom

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