In an earlier post, we talked about the importance of crime detection in reducing mobile theft: detection of crime involves identifying a suspect and collecting sufficient evidence to indict the suspect before a court. Given that there are several motivators to commit mobile theft, which will not go away even with proposed "kill switch" options, the ability to hold criminals accountable for these crimes will continue to be an important aspect of reducing mobile theft.
The Times of India reported last week that less than 2% of lost or stolen mobile phones in India are recovered, which is a very low detection rate indicating a huge proportion of unsolved crimes in the country. According to the article, the crime branch in Varanasi receivers 5-6 complaints about loss of mobile phones per day, though many losses likely go unreported. The article indicates that the crime branch receives less than one third of the mobile phone loss complaints, only after pressure is applied by senior officers or other influential persons.
"Hundreds of numbers are already running while more than 30 new numbers are uploaded for surveillance everyday due to which the available manpower is already under pressure to complete the exercises like listening and data analysis of the numbers of criminal and elopement cases."
It is the task of the crime branch to use surveillance in solving crimes; some of the reported lost phones will be surveilled in hopes of recovery. The crime branch relies on surveillance due to the unavailability of cyber crime experts in its wing. The police consider it "a matter of chance" for mobile phones to be recovered, given the limitations and priorities of the crime branch.