Thieves want your smartphone. It's an epidemic, according to The Huffington Post. Police are trying new ways to combat cell phone theft. 2013 was a big year for new anti-theft initiatives, but nothing seemed to work. Big cities across the U.S. saw significant increases in the number of smartphones being stolen. City government are sekeing out the help of wireless carriers, and police are frustrated.
In Denver, thefts of iPhones rose 22% in 2013. In San Francisco, smartphone thefts across the board rose 23% in 2013, to a total of 2,400 reported incidents. "[The San Francisco Police Department] has been aggressively trying to educate the public on smartphone theft safety to prevent being a victim of robbery," SFPD spokesman Albie Esparza said to The Huffington Post. Washington DC and Philadelphia saw 6% increases in the number of smartphone thefts last year. In New York City, 8,465 smartphones were stolen from January 1st to Dec 31st. Nothing that law enforcement agencies or wireless carriers are doing seems to be working.
We're sure that some of the increase in device theft is related to the number of people that carry smartphones now. CNN Money puts U.S. smartphone market penetration at roughly 60%, and those numbers are from a report that is six months old. More and more people are carrying smartphones, and that means that smartphones are much more accessible to thieves than they ever have been before. Carriers and law enforcement are doing more and more, but they aren't making headway.
So what can you do to help prevent your smartphone being stolen? If a thief wants your phone badly enough, they're probably going to get it. But you can easily find your stolen device and protect your private information. I personally use Google's Android Device Manager, which is available on the Google Play Store. The app works with any Android device that is running 2.3 Gingerbread and up. Other, similar apps include Find My Phone and Android Lost allow you to track your device and remotely lock or wipe it if it's stolen. You may not be able to protect against your phone being stolen 100% of the time, but you can make sure that your information is safe and that you find your phone if it ever gets swiped.
How do you protect your phone from potential theft?