Prosecutors combine to fight smartphone thefts

stolen stuff from car

While its no case of Elliot Ness against Chicago’s rum runners of Prohibition days, prosecutors in two major U.S. cities are teaming up with local police to fight a wave of violent smartphone thefts. Law enforcers Thursday issued an SOS of sorts, or ‘Save Our Smartphones’.

The announcement comes as Apple and other smartphone makers meet with the New York State Attorney General and San Francisco’s District Attorney. It’s unknown whether Apple’s new Activation Lock feature unveiled during Monday’s WWDC keynote as part of iOS 7 will be enough to satisfy calls for handset makers to create a kill switch to disable stolen smartphones…

The Associated Press reports that prosecutors, law enforcement officials and consumer advocates would comprise SOS. Among their goals: a kill switch that would make stolen smartphones useless.

In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said “roughly 113 smartphones are stolen or lost each minute in the United States, with too many of those thefts turning violent.”

Almost a third of all robberies involve theft of mobile phones, the FCC reported in 2012.

iOS 7 activation lock

Earlier this week, Scheiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon withheld judgement on Apple’s new Activation Lock capability.

As part of iOS 7, the feature lets owners wiped their device remotely. As a result, the device is rendered useless, with the owner’s Apple ID and password required to re-activate it.