Smartphone theft: Apple, Samsung and Nokia asked for help by London mayor

Smartphone theft: Apple, Samsung and Nokia asked for help by London mayor

Summary: Thefts spike when new handsets are released, says the Mayor of London, who has written to Apple, Samsung and others asking for help to tackle mobile theft.

SHARE:

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has written to Apple, Samsung, Nokia and other handset makers asking for their help in tackling smartphone theft in the capital.

Around 10,000 handsets are stolen every month in London, and according to the Mayor's office there has been a troubling increase in the number of incidences of theft-from-persons offences — which in the last year rose by 12 percent.

This is largely driven by mobile phone theft, which accounts for 75 per cent of these offences. Figures also appear to show a correlation between the release of new smartphone models and spikes in thefts.

BlackBerry Q5: Hands-on with the latest Qwerty

BlackBerry Q5: Hands-on with the latest Qwerty

BlackBerry Q5: Hands-on with the latest Qwerty

The mayor and the leaders of the London Crime Reduction Board (LCRB), which has responsibility for public safety in the capital, have written to Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Google-Motorola, HTC, and Microsoft to ask for help in tackling these crimes.

The mayor's letter said that smartphone theft is a problem "fuelled by a large cross-border black market in stolen devices involving organised criminal gangs who in our assessment are exploiting the poor safeguards for identifying stolen devices and the ease of selling on the handsets for use overseas. These criminals create thousands of new victims daily in London."

It added: "Police and criminal justice agencies cannot tackle this crime type alone. We need the companies who manufacture and supply these smartphones to play their part and take this issue seriously."

The letter, sent to the UK chief executives of the main mobile phone manufacturers, calls for "meaningful engagement from business and a clear demonstration that your company is serious about your corporate responsibility to help solve this problem".

The mayor is asking for each manufacturer to nominate a senior staff member to work with the LCRB through the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime, and to detail the steps they have already taken to support the police and others in deterring theft, identifying stolen devices, and protecting the public.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Government UK, Nokia, BlackBerry, United Kingdom

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

28 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Responsibilty???

    Okay, I get the fact that theft of smartphones is out of control, but why is it the manufacturers responsibility to provide a person to help curb theft of their devices from individuals. Shouldn't the focus be on the end user on taking care of their items. Please explain this to me so I can fully understand it.

    I purchase an items, it gets stolen because either I left it at a location where it could easily be taken or someone forcibly takes it from my, why is it the companies responsibility to help recover it?

    My Windows phone has a find my phone feature so I would use that and help the police that way. I can also erase/wipe my phone over the air so I wouldn't worry about my data.

    I don't know seems to me like this is passing the buck...
    Denny French
    • Responsiblity?

      I agree that users bear a lot of the responsibility, but it is currently rather simple to disable these find your phone, and erase the data remotely features. Apple is starting to address this by protecting the phone from being used by the thief in iOS 7. All the thief has to do is turn the phone off, and then go to a place that is shielded from signals, then wipe the phone. Not difficult as it now stands. It is the carriers who really need to work with the law enforcement to not allow these stolen phones on their networks.
      rphunter1242
    • Manufacurers Make Too Much Money on Replacement Units...

      to want to thwart theft.

      It's Billions that thieves generate for them.

      Not a tough problem to solve, just no incentive.
      Seditionist
    • not responsibility but ABILITY

      to block and recover stolen phones ultimately lies with the carriers.
      They CAN triangulate and locate phones which are switched on even without a SIM card.
      If thieves know they WILL be tracked, they won't be so keen to steal them.
      warboat
  • Responsibility

    Responsibility is probably the wrong word to use in this context. If the manufacturers were truly responsible Boris would be telling, not asking.
    williams@...
  • We keep being told that only iphones get stolen

    I have a Windows Phone. This is simply not my problem. Let apple solve this if they care enough.
    toddbottom3
    • We....

      So, you don't think the Windows phone can be stolen? I know you have a deepseated distaste for Apple, but don't you think that you should, at least, admit that ANY smartphone can be stolen? And Apple is doing something constructive in this area with iOS 7. It remains to be seen if this will be effective, but at least they are doing something, which is more than other manufactures seem to be doing. Of course, if the carriers really cared, they would maintain a list of stolen phones by IMEI number, and just not allow these phones on their networks.
      But we know THAT isn't going to happen because they make MONEY on them.
      rphunter1242
      • I take the same attitude apple users have taken on malware

        This isn't my problem since regardless of whether or not Windows Phones CAN be stolen, they simply aren't.

        Let apple users fret about phone theft, it is their problem, not mine.
        toddbottom3
        • Phone thief's perspective

          I am a phone thief and Todd is on point. First of all, Windows phones have such a tiny market share, that its very hard to find one to steal. And second, when I do steal one, nobody wants it, I can't fence it for much or even give the thing away.
          beau parisi
          • This means I win

            Thanks beau. I get the benefit of having the best phone in the world AND the security of never having to worry about it being stolen.

            Meanwhile, apple users have to deal not only with having an inferior phone but also having it stolen.

            I win.
            toddbottom3
        • Oh Toddy!

          This rip is not up to your usual standards; you can do better.

          Also, we all know that you must pay a thief to take a Windows phone since there is no resale market.
          Gr8Music
          • I don't care WHY my phone will never be stolen

            You say there is no resale market? Great for me. I don't care WHY my phone will never be stolen, I still get the benefit of owning the best phone in the world without ever having to worry about it being stolen.

            This is a huge benefit to me.
            toddbottom3
          • Oh Toddy!

            Better, but you haven't worked Steve Jobs into it yet. You must be under the weather.

            Now, if you'd be so kind as to cite some actual credible references to Nokia/WP8 being "the best phone in the world" please post for all to see. THAT is a problem for "all you WP8 users"
            Gr8Music
          • I cited the most credible reference of all

            Mine.

            If you have any proof that the Lumia 920 ISN'T the best phone in the world for me, I'd like to hear it.
            toddbottom3
          • Oh Toddy!

            There's that twisted logic I love so much! You so funny!!

            NOBODY cares what is good for you; you're only one in a billion. Now, I ask again, please cite some actual credible references to Nokia/WP8 being "the best phone in the world" for all to see.
            Gr8Music
          • Twisted logic?

            I should buy a phone that ISN'T the best for me because...?
            toddbottom3
          • Because

            Because you're a loser, trying to justify a loser phone, that nobody buys?
            beau parisi
          • Actually, you've twice claimed...

            it to be 'the best phone in the world.' No qualifiers.

            Given that the reviews I've read have stated that it's bulky (and we know how delicate you are when it comes to carrying things), and has awful battery life, I'm curious as to why you claim it to be 'the best in the world.'
            msalzberg
          • you win

            You are clearly as retarded as the phone.......a match made in heaven
            DejaVu2
    • Yes, but

      Agreed, No SANE person would steal a windows phone, if anyone would stoop to such depths to steal such a POS then it is truly a sad world we live in.
      DejaVu2