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Why thieves no longer love smartphones

New York: Smartphones, particularly iPhones, are no longer the favourites of discerning lifters, recent data shows. The reason: the "kill switch" is proving the killjoy for the thieves.

The number of thefts and robberies of smartphones, particularly iPhones, is on the fall in New York, London and San Francisco, according to fresh data.

Law enforcement officials, who have been at the forefront of demands to include a "kill switch" in all smartphones, hailed the news as proof that the technology is working as a deterrent, PCWorld reported.

"The huge drops in smartphone theft that have occurred since the kill switch has been on the market are evidence that our strategy is making people safer in our cities, and across the world," New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

The kill switch is a software lock that can be remotely activated when a phone is lost or stolen. It can wipe personal data from a phone and "brick it" so it can't be reused or reprogrammed.

Law enforcement officials campaigned to make the technology standard in reaction to a growing numbers of thefts of robberies of smartphones on city streets across the U.S. and beyond. The assumption was that phones would be much less desirable targets if they could quickly be made useless.

Apple added a kill switch, called Activation Lock, to its iPhone in September 2013. Samsung followed in April 2014 with its Galaxy S5 and Google made it a standard feature of Android with the release of Lollipop.

In San Francisco, overall robberies and thefts dropped 22 percent from 2013 to 2014, but those involving smartphones were down 27 percent. Thefts and robberies of iPhones fell 40 percent.

In New York, smartphone theft dropped 16 percent overall with iPhone figures down 25 percent. And London saw smartphone thefts from persons drop 40 percent in a year.

So, time for you to fit your expensive smartphone with a "kill switch", eh?

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