Thefts involving smartphones are on the rise according to a new FCC study. In 2013, 3.1 million Americans had their smartphones stolen. That was up from 1.6 million thefts in 2012.

Some interesting facts from the new report:

  • 22 percent of smartphone users installed software that can locate their phone
  • 34 percent of smartphone users don't take any security measures
  • 36 percent of users set a screen lock with a 4-digit pin
  • 46 percent of robberies in New York in 2013 involved a smartphone
  • 59 percent of robberies in San Francisco in 2013 involved a smartphone

Thieves have all kinds of options for their ill-gotten phones, including selling them online, selling them to recycling companies, and sometimes just using them outright for themselves. Some of the more organized criminal outfits steal large numbers of phones and ship them overseas.

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But it's not all bad news. At least not for Apple users. Apple's new security measures (including tech like Find My iPhone and Activation Lock) have been credited with actually decreasing thefts of Apple devices. In the first five months of 2014 robberies of iPhones in New York City dropped by 19 percent. In San Francisco, iPhone robberies dropped by a whopping 38 percent.

It'll certainly be interesting to see if these new security measures put a dent in next year's overall smartphone theft numbers. In the meantime, no matter what device you use, it's probably best to just keep your head up when you're in a public place to avoid snatch and grabs. It can sometimes be a beautiful world up there, believe it or not.

Hat-tip to the Washington Post; Image: Shutterstock / NOBUHIRO ASADA


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