smartphones

PUBLIC SAFETY
11:27 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Lawmakers Pressure Cellphone Makers, Carriers to Install Kill Switch

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at Syracuse City Hall Friday with Congressmember Dan Maffei and State Senator Dave Valesky.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

It’s probably happened to some of us – we’re focused on checking email or texting on the go that we might not be aware of our surroundings.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said smartphone robberies are becoming more of a problem because it can mean easy money. 

“People who are on their smartphones often are distracted,” he said, “you know, if they’re listening to music or something. People just knock them over, grab [the cell phone], and it’s too easy.”  

A rise in smartphone robberies is why Schneiderman and the San Francisco District Attorney began the “Secure Our Smartphones Coalition.” Unlike other cities, Syracuse is lucky and has yet to report any fatality due to cell phone robberies. However, Frank Fowler, Syracuse Police Chief, said phone thefts have risen in the past year. According to Fowler, they account for more than 1/3 of all robberies.

Robberies of any type of property places people in harm’s way. When we can discourage this type of robbery, we can have an opportunity to decrease our robberies by 35%, and that’s a great number.”    The "kill switches" would make the phones less appealing to thieves.  But Schneiderman says  there's also little incentive for manufacturers and even the service providers, who are not cooperating. 

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