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Smartphone Thefts Soaring
Carriers moving to make stolen phones worthless
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2012 2:08 AM CDT
A commuter checks his cell phone while waiting for a BART train at San Francisco's Civic Center station.    (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

(Newser) – Police departments, lawmakers, and wireless companies are scrambling to tackle a crime wave veteran cops call "the new purse-snatching," the AP reports. Cell phone thefts, especially of the priciest smartphones, are soaring nationwide and now make up close to half of all robberies in cities including New York and San Francisco. In Los Angeles, cell phone thefts are up 27% from a year ago and in Oakland, city council candidate Dan Kalb became one of the city's estimated 1,300 victims so far this year—after an anti-crime meeting.

The Federal Communications Commission and major wireless carriers plan to set up a national database next year to track stolen phones. Carriers are also planning databases to permanently disable cell phones reported stolen. "We want to dry up the aftermarket," an official at the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association advocacy group says. "Hopefully, there will be no sense in stealing a phone and a once valuable piece of hardware will essentially turn into useless metal."

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Showing 3 of 8 comments
Oct 24, 2012 10:44 AM CDT
why dont they have an app for phones to make a loud noise when the phone gets far from them?
Oct 22, 2012 10:05 AM CDT
smart phone thefts are on the rise cause use of said smart phones is on the rise... if i'm out to steal a phone, any phone, and you happen to have a smart phone, it doesn't necessarily mean i was aiming to get that phone. This is a self-explanatory "issue". It's not rocket science. I'd say easily 95% of the people i know own a smart phone now. It's ironic that i can't think of ANYONE that i know that doesn't have a smart phone,cause i don't even own a regular cell phone anymore (and good god i don't miss it one bit!)
Oct 22, 2012 8:22 AM CDT
Smart phones are for dumb people, why else would you use one?