NEW YORK, Oct. 21 -- New York Attorney General issued the following news release:
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has joined the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) Initiative, a groundbreaking international coalition of prosecutors, police chiefs, attorneys general, public officials and consumer activists working to encourage the smartphone industry to implement meaningful solutions to stop the epidemic known as "Apple Picking" - the theft of popular mobile communications devices such as smartphones and tablets.
In joining the S.O.S Initiative, de Blasio is now the highest-ranking New York City official to join the coalition, which was created earlier this year by Attorney General Schneiderman and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. In addition to joining the S.O.S Initiative, de Blasio also announced that he is sending a letter to the four leading smartphone manufacturers -- Apple, Google/Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft - urging them to develop a technological solution that will protect New York City smartphone users by eliminating the incentive for theft.
"The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft of mobile devices is a global problem that demands a global solution," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "I'm glad that Public Advocate de Blasio has joined the global effort to protect consumers by demanding that smartphone manufacturers find a way to make sure that stolen devices cannot be sold in the lucrative secondary markets around the world, thereby eliminating the perverse incentives that put so many members of our community at risk. By teaming up with law enforcement and policy leaders, we are sending a powerful message to the multi-national corporations that dominate the electronics industry: They must be good corporate citizens and take steps to ensure the safety of their consumers and our citizens."
"These are dangerous crimes, often committed at the point of a knife or a gun. We can stop this trend in its tracks but we need manufacturers' help to do it. With better theft deterrence, we can prevent these crimes before they happen," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman for taking this problem head-on and working directly with manufacturers do it."
Launched earlier this year, the S.O.S Initiative is a groundbreaking coalition of prosecutors, police chiefs, attorneys general, state and city comptrollers and consumer activists working to encourage the smartphone industry to implement meaningful solutions to stop the epidemic known as "Apple Picking" - the theft of popular mobile communications devices such as smartphones and tablets. The frequency of such incidents is staggering.
Even as most types of property crime are falling, in communities across the United States and the United Kingdom, the theft of smartphones has spiked dramatically. In the United States, one in three thefts involves a mobile communications device. Consumer Reports estimates that 1.6 million Americans were victimized by smartphone thieves in 2012.