113 cell phones are lost every minute in the US, a figure that is on the rise alongside the growing violence of mobile thefts; in major cities, 30-40% of all robberies are cell-phone related. Mobile theft is being called an epidemic, and with good reason.
The San Francisco District Attorney's office recently made its cellphone theft data available from November 2012 - April 2013. IDG News Service created an interactive map with this data, outlining where mobile crime hotspots are as well as offering details on the crime (victim, injury, summary of crime).
In the 6 months covered in the IDG News Service analysis, there were 579 thefts of cellphones or tablets, accounting for 41% of all serious crime in San Francisco. In over half of the incidents, violence was involved: punching, kicking, physical intimidating. In a quarter of robberies, victims were threatened with guns or knives.
These figures show a startling picture of violence associated with mobile theft, not just in San Francisco but all across the US and Canada. Despite the creation of databases by both countries to stem device crime, there are many factors contributing to device theft that are not at all thwarted by these efforts. Devices can still be sold abroad for high prices, the IMEI can easily be changed, phone apps that use WiFi can bypass carrier blocking, and so much more. While it is still profitable to steal mobile devices, these figures will continue to rise.
Until the marketability of stolen devices decreases, do what you can to protect yourself. Read our posts on the Do's and Don'ts of Stolen & Lost Mobile Devices and the best practices for mobile security and safety.