The number of smartphone thefts in major cities like London, New York and San Francisco, has reduced significantly thanks to the “kill switches” that render iPhone and Android devices useless.
If a smartphone is snatched by a criminal and a user becomes aware of it, they have the power to remotely turn off their devices. Consequently, when a pickpocket goes to access it or sell it on, the device no longer works.
“We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago,” commented Boris Johnson, mayor of London.
George Gascon, district attorney of San Francisco, added: “Preventing their own customers from being the target of a violent crime is the coolest technology [the mobile industry] can bring to market.”
London, New York and San Francisco joined forces in 2013 to battle against smartphone theft, setting up a Secure Our Smartphones scheme. Along with the addition of kill switches, the initiative has helped reduce number of thefts.
In London, incidents are down by almost half, in New York 25 per cent and San Francisco 40 per cent. It appears evident that this technology is have a radical impact.
Microsoft is the only big provider that has yet to add kill switches to its devices, but has stated that this will happen sooner or later. However, a date for this has yet to be announced.