Now not even muggers want your iPhone

Back to stealing life savings from pensioners, lads

Bigwigs in London, New York City and San Francisco are well happy with the remote-triggered kill switches added to smartphones.

And the three-city Save our Smartphones (SOS) coalition says mobe thefts are on the decrease. We're told:

  • In San Francisco, overall smartphone thefts have dropped 27 per cent, and iPhone crime is down 40 per cent, from January 2013 to December 2014.
  • For London, overall smartphone thefts have dropped 40 per cent from October 2013 to October 2014.
  • New York City saw a 16 per cent overall drop, and a 25 per cent decline in iPhone robberies, from January 2013 to December 2014.

That's particularly good news for NYC: last year, crime-fighters in the Big Apple said tablet and smartphone snatches were one of the few crimes that had increased in recent years.

The SOS group credits the overall drop to the implementation of kill switches. Apple has offered the feature since 2013: iOS 7 includes an "Activation Lock" that, when activated, renders a gadget reported as missing unusable until a correct password is supplied.

Microsoft built the feature into Windows Phone 8.1 and Samsung put a kill switch into its Galaxy S5 last April. Officials believe that the kill switch is a strong deterrent as it renders the phone useless for resale.

"Restricting the marketability of stolen cell phones and electronic devices has a direct correlation to a reduction of associated crimes and violence, as evidenced in London, San Francisco and New York," said New York police commissioner William Bratton.

Meanwhile, California passed a law in 2014 requiring all smartphones sold in the golden state to have a remotely-activated lock. That law will go into effect on July 1. ®

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