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 thefts
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



1. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Apps that do this already exist.

13. MyJobSux

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

Apps dont permanently disable a device meaning it can no longer be activated on any network or even be usable. Their talking about making a stolen device a brick.

2. ilani

Posts: 90; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Every cell phone provider has the ability to triangulate any phone on their network! why don't THEY help???? THey don't help just because of it being profitable, having customers being forced to buy a second phone!

3. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Every cell phone provider has the ability to triangulate any phone on their network!" Yes, but such method is far away from accurate.

14. MyJobSux

Posts: 106; Member since: Apr 01, 2012

Its as accurate as your GPS is when your using Google Maps, etc on a phone. One issue could be the number of stolen devices in terms of personnel to help locate them.

20. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

"Its as accurate as your GPS is when your using Google Maps." No.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

Look out® Avast®

5. pixelado

Posts: 130; Member since: Feb 16, 2013

Ah, I remember when our government put an end to phone robbery by blocking the IMEI of reported units... Oh wait, they didn't, and as a matter of fact, this created a new source of income for those who could change IMEI numbers on stolen/barred devices. Phones are stolen as usual, but now "serial flashers" get to profit from it too. BTW I don't see anyone blaming Toyota or Nissan for car robbery.

6. meowcenary

Posts: 187; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

How about people showing situational awareness? I see people on trains, buses, walking down the street, and in public places without situational awareness. Step one in prevention is to be aware and not make yourself a target. We can triangulate where the phone is (foxhunt) or we can brick a phone. It would not stop a savvy thief bricking or conducting a foxhunt. Society is beginning to live with CIV/FED GOV and LEOs setting up how we should operate socially. Yes I understand laws are in place to create a civilized society, however with police demanding phone manufactures to create a Tier I security feature. We have given up a piece of responsibility, which is to be aware. It is amazing how the smartphone has made people unaware and socially inept. I am surprised that people are not being awarded the Darwin Award everyday.

7. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Are these people really that stupid? GPS tracking and security of your phone isn't enough? What else can you do? Maybe they should do their job better or actually give a crap if someones stuff gets stolen. All they do is make a report. Obviously, they don't investigate because it would be stupid to spend more than 1k of man hours and investigation for a $300 used phone market value. Maybe they should do more rounds or something in high populated areas.

8. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

I never had problem with my phone being stolen except i loose it a few times. how bout keep it in your pocket at all times dont listen too it with head phones. Because the theif will see it and snatch it right off from your hands.


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

I've never had my phone swiped but, unfortunately, I have "lost" it a few times wwhenever an insurance claim has warranted it "lost".

10. ckoch125

Posts: 193; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

So it is the companies fault there are scumbags out there? Makes perfect sense..... /s

12. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Most if not all new cars now have built in gas cutoff and alarms.

11. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

Maybe the USPS could make a service of returning lost phones COD. The phone's owner is verified by the carrier and it's sent off to them. The fee could be used to bring them closer to meeting expenses. New York and San Francisco are heavy tourist areas. It's probably why the theft rates are so high. Hell, even a lost phone will become "stolen" when it's there. Most folks don't want to admit they were careless.

15. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

That's what phone insurance is for

16. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

So it is a companies fault because the police can't control crime. Do they blame credit card companies for fraud, car companies for auto theft, or bicycle companies for thefts? Gees all big liberal cities have to do is find a scape goat to blame their crime on and they are not responsible for doing their job.

17. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

Even if a phone gets disabled somehow, it doesn't stop that phone being shipped to another country and being used there. You'd be surprised how many stolen phones end up in other countries and are easily activated there because these blacklisted databases are not shared with other carriers.

22. tomn1ce

Posts: 247; Member since: Mar 12, 2012

I know what you mean but if they are able to permanently brick the phone may be this wold deter thieves, and that'S a big MAY BE.

18. TruPatriot

Posts: 110; Member since: May 27, 2013

How about just don't leave your phone laying around? Do these idiots leave their wallets sitting out too?

19. kindlefireowner

Posts: 504; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Maybe Samsung could develop a common sense feature for there smartphones. The feature won't let you text and drive. Talk loud in public places.

21. threed61

Posts: 259; Member since: May 27, 2011

Never mind remote wiping the phone, install a small explosive device and remotely put a thief out of business.

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