Today, Mark Udall called on cell phone service carriers to listen to local law enforcement officials and stop reactivating smartphones that have been reported stolen, thereby stamping out the incentive to steal - sometimes violently - the phones and resell them on the black market.
Because of how easily thieves and black market buyers can reactivate stolen phones, smartphone theft has become a fast-growing and widespread problem, sometimes including violence toward the victims. Recent national news stories have highlighted the spread of the epidemic and about 70 police chiefs from major cities around the country, including from Denver and Colorado Springs, have called on the Federal Communications Commission to take action. Udall is urging carriers to take a stand to make stolen phones worthless, protect their customers and help law enforcement prevent this crime.
"Rising smartphone theft is an issue that threatens public safety, in part because of how easily such devices can be resold online or on the black market - and then reactivated. Frankly, it doesn't make sense to wait to protect Americans from the threat of this potentially violent crime and reward thieves by allowing a market for stolen phones. Law enforcement officers agree that there's an easy fix at our fingertips - stop reactivating stolen phones," Udall said. "If service carriers do right by their customers and make stolen phones into worthless 'bricks,' they can help drastically stop these violent attacks in the first place. This common-sense solution has been implemented in the UK and Australia and has been effective in reducing these types of crimes - why not give U.S. customers the same protection?"