Thanks to “kill switches”, which allow the devices to be turned off remotely if they are stolen, smartphones thefts have dropped significantly in major American and British cities. According to statistics, the number of smartphones stolen halved in London and dropped 27% in San Francisco and 16% in New York last year.
Apple was first to add a kill switch to its iPhones in September 2013, and the thefts declined 40% in San Francisco and 25% in New York. Next year, Samsung added a similar function to some of its smartphones, and Google added a kill switch to its latest Android Lollipop mobile OS. Microsoft is also planning to add a kill switch to its phones in a few months.
London mayor admitted they had made real progress in fighting the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many large cities just a few years ago. In the meantime, a law mandating kill switches hasn’t come into effect in California yet, but phone theft in the state is decline in gas manufacturers have already started installing the software-based switches on the devices.
One should admit that technology preventing people from being the target of a violent crime is the greatest that the wireless industry can bring to market, even though it rolls out many other sophisticated features. It should be noted that California’s law, considered one of the strongest in the United States, received wide support from the local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies hoping to reduce smartphone thefts.
The statistics say that 1.6 million handheld devices were stolen in the country in 2012. As for California, half of smartphone thefts happened in San Francisco, Oakland and other cities. Looking at California, other states experiencing a high rate of smartphone thefts started to consider similar measures: for example, Minnesota has already passed theft-prevention legislation in 2014.