WASHINGTON (CNN) - A rise in the theft of smart phones, cell phones and tablets across the country has prompted the wireless industry to take steps aimed at minimizing the usefulness of a stolen device. Local and federal officials and representatives from the wireless industry Tuesday announced their commitment to establishing a database to prevent the reactivation of stolen cell phones.
"Carriers now with the push of a button will be able to take highly prized stolen instruments and turn them into worthless pieces of plastic," said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "What we're doing is drying up the market for stolen cell phones."
The theft of smart phones has risen dramatically in some major cities. More than 40% of all robberies in New York City involve smart phones and other cell phones. And in Washington D.C., cell phones were taken in 54% more robberies in 2011 than in 2007, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The theft of these devices often comes during violent assaults Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier has been at the forefront of an effort to get wireless carriers to utilize the shutdown technology....