London Mayor Boris Johnson announced this week that he has joined forces with two US cities to support an international initiative to halt smartphone thefts.
According to the Mayor's website, Mr Johnson has linked up with New York State Attorney and San Francisco District Attorney to support the Secure our Smartphones (SOS) movement, a collaboration between prosecutors, police chiefs, attorneys general, state and city comptrollers and public safety activists launched earlier this year. The movement's aim is to get the smartphone industry to implement meaningful solutions that will end the international epidemic of violent thefts of smartphones and tablets.
Three months ago this website reported on the trend after a London restaurant owner had his laptop snatched from under his nose from a table on the pavement outside his premises. The story can be found by clicking here.
Last month, Mr Johnson wrote to the UK heads of the major manufacturers urging them to take more action to tackle this problem, and has called a meeting with them next month.
Mr Johnson said: “Residents and visitors to our city need better protection from the menace of smartphone theft. Cities like London, New York and San Francisco all face the same challenge and that is why London is joining the Secure Our Smartphones campaign to help find a global solution. We need the industry to take this issue seriously and come up with a technical solution that can squash the illegal smartphone market that is fuelling this crime.”
Even as most types of property crime are falling in communities across the UK as well as in the US, the theft of smartphones has risen dramatically, with one in three thefts in the US involving a mobile communications device. Mobile devices that are reported stolen and no longer able to access domestic cell networks can be reactivated to work in foreign countries. For example, stolen iPhones are sold for up to £1,300 in Hong Kong.