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National plan would make theft of cellphones worthless crime

Did you know that cellphones are popularly stolen throughout the country? About one-third of theft in the country involves a cellphone. Cellphone theft has gone up in popularity as the use of cellphones themselves has increased in popularity.

With the growing trend, it isn't surprising that officials would come up with a plan to reduce the rate of cellphone theft. Officials from Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania are working with the cellphone industry to make the theft of phones less appealing to potential criminals.

Currently, smartphones are stolen and then sold on the black market. But what if those phones were to stop working after being stolen? That is the goal that officials and members of the wireless industry have in mind. They want to create a national database that would not only track stolen smartphones but also be able to deactivate the stolen phones, thereby making them unusable.

If made unusable, then why would thieves even bother stealing cellphones? No one would want to buy a phone that doesn't work, so officials believe that the database and deactivation would reduce the high rate of cellphone theft.

But that is not the only planned effort to deter people from stealing cellphones. The New York Times reports that proposed legislation would develop along with the use of the database. It would require that those who try to block a stolen cellphone's deactivation be charged with a felony.

What does this all mean? It means that, in the future, stealing a smartphone might not be the smartest thing to do.

Source: The New York Times, "National Database Planned to Combat Cellphone Theft," Edward Wyatt, April 9, 2012

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