Grand Theft Mobile

Police nationally are confronting the problem of the theft of those expensive smartphones.  Some chiefs are prevailing upon the cellular providers to use technology to cause stolen cellphones to be permanently disabled.  If the thieves discover the phones have no value they are less likely to steal them.

Another aspect is the recycle kiosks.  You’ll be seeing them soon in our community if you haven’t seen them already.   When we were first contacted about these we took a careful look to determine whether this is even legal.  Our research told us that it is legal–despite the fact that we are not comfortable with the idea that anyone can sell a phone at one of these kiosks and get cash immediately with a minimal level of identification.  The recycle company does hold the phone for 30 days in case it is stolen but still……

Last fall I heard Commissioner Ray Kelly talk about the theft of iPhones as a huge problem in New York at the police chief’s conference.  I was surprised at the time thinking that the increase in violent crime surely was a more compelling topic.  But Commissioner Kelly made the case that the thefts are widespread and could be countered by technology, if only the makers and network providers would act.  Instead he is forced to use his scarce resources to try to combat the trend.   By the way–this type of theft is a mark against a community when it comes to FBI crime statistics, hence an even stronger reason for police to use  resources to try to impact this crime.

Not to mention that most of us have our life stored in our phones and if it is missing, it is highly problematic to reconstruct.  If you are not a person who uses security procedures on the phone like a lock screen with a code of some type, you are also exposed to identity theft from a stolen cell phone.

Here is an interesting article on this very topic:

http://swampland.time.com/2013/03/25/law-enforcement-sounds-alarm-on-cell-phone-theft-epidemic/