“California has just put smartphone thieves on notice,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Starting next year, all smartphones sold in California, and most likely every other state in the union, will come equipped with theft deterrent technology when they purchase new phones. Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities.”
According to Consumer Reports, the number of victims of smartphone theft in the U.S. nearly doubled from 1.6 million to 3.1 million between 2012 and 2013, a 94 percent increase in a single year. The epidemic of smartphone thefts is most prevalent in California’s largest cities. In San Francisco, 67 percent of all robberies involve the theft of a mobile communications device, and in Oakland that number is as high as 75 percent. Los Angeles has seen a 30 percent increase in smartphone theft since 2011, while San Diego has experienced a 34 percent increase. In Sacramento, 22 percent of all robberies involve the theft of a smartphone.
“This epidemic has impacted millions across the nation and millions more around the globe, but today we turn the page,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Seldom can a public safety crisis be addressed by a technological solution, but today wireless consumers everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. Soon, stealing a smartphone won’t be worth the trouble, and these violent street crimes will be a thing of the past. The devices we use every day will no longer make us targets for violent criminals.”
SB 962 applies to smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 and sold in California. Apple already includes an Activation Lock feature in iOS that lets you remotely lock your device. You can locate your device and remotely play a sound, display a message, erase, or lock your device using the Find My iPhone app. Enable the feature if you haven't already!