Smartphone Theft Is Plummeting in San Francisco and NYC

Illustration for article titled Smartphone Theft Is Plummeting in San Francisco and NYC

The number of reported thefts involving smartphones has dropped substantially in some of the biggest cities in America and the UK, according to an announcement by San Francisco, New York and London authorities.

Following years of rising smartphone thefts, the trend finally started to reverse last year. Now, the cities report that number of stolen iPhones dropped by 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York between September 2013 and September 2014. In London, smartphone theft has halved, which is nothing short of incredible.

The cities attribute much of the decline to the smartphone industry pledge to introduce kill switches on handsets. So far, Apple, Samsung and Google have all implemented the security feature, and Microsoft is to at some point this year, too. Indeed, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has gone so far as to sign smartphone kill switches into law.


"The wireless industry continues to roll out sophisticated new features, but preventing their own customers from being the target of a violent crime is the coolest technology they can bring to market," explained Gascon in a press release. And he's right—but for now, it looks like kill switches are doing a rather good job. [Reuters on Re/code]

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"In a move to counter falling sales, beleaguered smartphone maker Blackberry placed 3,500 phones in various locations in the US with the hope that they'd be stolen in an attempt to increase market share. Realizing the plan was a failure, they sent teams out to collect the phones only to find a further share drop when 5,349 phones were recovered."