Kill-switch introduction drives down smartphone thefts in major cities
Authorities from major cities around the world have announced a dramatic decline in smartphone thefts since manufacturers started implementing “kill switches” that allows devices to be turned off remotely if they are stolen.
The report states that number of thefts of smartphones, iPhones in particular, has fallen in New York, London and San Francisco, with officials hailing the news as proof that the technology is putting off robbers. The once hot item for pickpockets is becoming a significantly less attractive target as features of the likes of Apple’s Activation Lock is preventing devices from being easily wiped and re-sold.
“We have made real progress in tackling the smartphone theft epidemic that was affecting many major cities just two years ago,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson. The number of stolen iPhones has dropped by 40%, 25% and 50% in San Francisco, New York and London respectively, in the 12 months following Apple’s introduction of a kill switch to its devices in September 2013.
“The huge drops in smartphone theft that have occurred since the kill switch has been on the market are evidence that our strategy is making people safer in our cities, and across the world,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement. Johnson, Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon were among numerous officials campaigning for new laws mandating the kill switches in reaction to a growing numbers of thefts on city streets across the globe.
Apple’s kill switch system was quickly picked up by leading manufacturers, with Samsung following in April 2014 with its Galaxy S5 and Google making it a standard feature of its latest Android Lollipop OS. Microsoft is also expected to include the technology in its upcoming OS for Windows phones. The news was greatly welcomed by law enforcement officials as they expect to see further reductions in smartphone robberies with the kill switch being implemented in more and more smartphones.