Sen. Leno, San Francisco D.A. Gascón Announce Plans to Introduce Bill Requiring Technological Solutions to Epidemic of Smartphone Theft

December 19, 2013

Senator Mark Leno and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced plans today to introduce legislation that addresses the epidemic of smartphone theft by requiring the implementation of theft deterring technological solutions, also known as a kill switch, which render phones inoperable if they are stolen. The bill will be formally introduced in January at the start of the 2014 legislative session.

“One of the top catalysts for street crime in many California cities is smartphone theft, and these crimes are becoming increasingly violent,” said Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco. “We cannot continue to ignore our ability to utilize existing technology to stop cell phone thieves in their tracks. It is time to act on this serious public safety threat to our communities.”

According to the Federal Communications Commission, cell phone thefts account for 30 to 40 percent of all robberies nationwide. In San Francisco alone, more than 50 percent of all robberies involve the theft of a mobile device, and in Los Angeles cell phone thefts are up almost 12 percent in the last year. These crimes cost U.S. consumers more than $30 billion in 2012, even though technology already exists that can render stolen devices useless.

"I appreciate the efforts that many of the manufacturers are making, but the deadline we agreed upon is rapidly approaching and most do not have a technological solution in place," said District Attorney George Gascón. "Californians continue to be victimized at an alarming rate, and this legislation will compel the industry to make the safety of their customers a priority."

The bill will be introduced in early January.

For media inquiries, contact Ali Bay at ali.bay@sen.ca.gov or (916) 651-4011.