Probably the most important device to humans today is a mobile phone. Due to this, phone theft has grown and created a booming backstreet market across the globe.
Today, major phone makers assemble in the London City hall. Apple, Samsung, Google, Motorola, and Nokia will be in a conference together with the mayor of London and the Met Police. The agenda is simple, what can be done to smartphones to make them harder to steal.
Globally, authorities and users are grappling with the phone theft menace. Thieves steal smartphones that are then wiped, flashed, and rekitted. According to the GSMA, there are over 4 billion smartphone users in the world. Futher, the number of active smartphones is higher than the number of human beings on earth.
In London, an average of 157 phones are stolen per day. Oakland police in California estimate that over 75% of street robberies involve a smartphone. Last month in Kenya, 3 phone technicians were arrested and charged with reprogramming stolen smartphones. In the same month, detectives arrested a suspect by the name Jeremiah Mbugua with over 100 stolen phones in Nairobi CBD.
Detectives from the elite Crime Research & Intelligence Bureau based at the DCI Nairobi headquarters have this week arrested more phone thieves. The suspect are said to traffic phones stolen in Kenya into neighbouring countries.
Measures to End Phone Theft
Evidently, this is a global problem. The conference in London is set to discuss location tracking features on phones. Secondly, they will look into how phones reported as stolen can be blocked from re-registering for services provided by Apple, Google Play, Samsung and other online stores. Another factor that will be explored is ways in which manufactures can make it harder for phones to be sold as used parts.
Apart from reuse and resell of stolen phones, identity theft is also a huge problem. Phones have a lot of private information and this has often been used nefariously. Criminals use stolen phones to access electronic payment apps, bank accounts and other personal information.
It is hoped that the key mobile phone players will develop effective solutions to help dismantle the criminal market.