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Schneiderman To Host ‘Smartphone Summit’ To Combat Rise In Thefts

AG: Goal Is To Develop Way To Render Stolen Devices Worthless
iPhone (file / credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

iPhone (file/credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York’s attorney general has joined forces with San Francisco’s district attorney to announce a Smartphone Summit aimed at stemming the increase in cellphone thefts and robberies.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Wednesday announced the June 13 meeting with some of the nation’s largest smartphone makers. The meeting will be held in Schneiderman’s New York City office.

Gascon and Schneiderman say they’ll meet with representatives from Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft and urge them to create new technology to permanently and quickly disable stolen smartphones, making them worthless to thieves. The so-called “kill switch” was proposed by Gascon late last year.

The theft of handheld devices is the fastest-growing street crime, and increasingly, incidents are turning violent,” said Schneiderman. “It’s time for manufacturers to be as innovative in solving this problem as they have been in designing devices that have reshaped how we live.”

Schneiderman and Gascon pointed to some recent violent incidents involving smartphone thefts.

Last April, a man was killed for his iPhone as he was traveling home to the Bronx. In February, three people were stabbed on a Queens subway platform in a fight over an iPhone. And a woman was recently mugged at gunpoint for her Android device, according to a press release.

The theft of iPhones has been dubbed “Apple Picking” by many law enforcement officials.

Gascon says an estimated 1.6 million Americans had their cellphones stolen in 2012.

Research firm IDC says nearly 175 million cellphones sold in the U.S. accounted for $69 billion in sales last year.

And now almost one 1 of 3 robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone, reports the Federal Communications Commission, which is coordinating formation this fall of a highly anticipated national database system to track cellphones reported stolen.

Schneiderman said a recent study found that lost and stolen cellphones cost consumers over $30 billion, last year.

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