Soaring levels of mobile phone theft have prompted new measures to tackle the issue, which will be tested in New York and San Francisco.

Prosecutors will use the iPhone 5 from Apple and the Galaxy S4 from Samsung to carry out the tests. This comes as a response to cities across the globe requesting mobile phone manufacturers to do more to prevent the growing problem of theft.

mobile phone theft

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has written a letter to Apple, Samsung and Google as well as other mobile manufacturers saying, “If we are to deter theft and help prevent crimes that victimise your customers and the residents and visitors to our city, we need meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem.”

In the US, prosecutors met with representatives from the technology firms last month in order to discuss what could be done. They feel a “kill switch” could be a solution, a method which would leave the handset useless if stolen, thereby detering the thief in the first place.

In New York 40 per cent of robberies are phone thefts; nationwide the US Federal Trade Commission suggest that nearly one in three robberies involve the theft of a mobile handset.

The statistics are not much better for London, where 75 percent of all “theft from person” offences involve a mobile phone. That is 10,000 handsets a month.

To help combat the number of thefts Apple have suggested an Activation Lock, which will be part of the next iPhone and iPad software update.

Often when a phone is stolen, the thief will deactivate the phone straight away so that it cannot be tracked. Activation Lock is designed to make it harder to reactivate by requiring the entry of the original log-in details that were used to register the phone.

Other companies will be working with the prosecutors in testing the theft recovery system called Lojack.

It will take time for these methods to be tested and prove that they will be effective against thieves but hopefully they will be a good deterent.

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