CMPD researching technology to combat cellphone thefts

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The number of cellphones stolen over the last year has nearly doubled nationwide.

Elizabeth Toney knows how bad the problem is. She said someone once stole her cellphone right out of her toddler's hands at a local mall.

"I was sad, upset that a person would take a phone from a child, but now I hold my phone or put it up when I'm out," Toney said.

New data from Consumer Reports showed that in 2012, 1.6 million cellphones were stolen nationwide. That number nearly doubled to 3.1 million in 2013.

Police in Charlotte have also seen a significant rise in smartphone thefts, which prompted a press conference last October warning people to protect themselves.

Eyewitness News has learned the department is researching technology that would essentially create ‘bait phones’ that officers could use in sting operations. When stolen, the phones would take pictures of the thieves while tracking their location with GPS.

Nationally, lawmakers are also putting the heat on cell phone companies and many now plan to implement ‘kill switch’ technology in 2015 that could remotely wipe data from a lost or stolen phone.

Justin Parker still isn't sure that would deter desperate thieves.

"They would probably find ways around it to steal them anyway," he said.

The data from Consumer Reports also found that most cell phones are not properly protecting themselves.

To get a look at their data click here.