Smartphone theft has reached all-time highs domestically and abroad.
Profitable for hardware thieves as well as identity predators alike, smartphones are now seen the world over as the hottest and also perhaps the easiest items to steal.
“Going back as far as 2009, smartphones have even contributed to the funding of terrorist organizations,” writes David Gewirtz of ZDNet.
So just how bad has the problem become? According to Consumer Reports, a staggering 1.6 million smartphones were stolen in the United States in 2012. Although definitive numbers for 2013 have not yet been nailed down, smartphone theft incidents are projected to have been much greater last year.
“While that statistic alone is disturbing, where things really begin to stand out is in the percentage of criminal activity overall that is related to smartphones and smartphone theft,” Gewirtz continues.
The FCC reports that approximately one-in-three robberies are now smartphone-related. What’s more, half of all robberies in New York and San Francisco now involve smartphones. In other markets, it’s closer to 75%.
Consequently, the industry’s top hardware makers are being encouraged to design their phones and operating systems so that they contain a so-called “kill switch.”
“The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a written statement last year. “It’s time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live.”