Officials in the United Kingdom want Apple and other phone makers to find a way to stop people stealing phones on the streets of London, with the assumption being that they can just « design out » the problem.
That’s what London Mayor Sadiq Khan and police chief Sir Mark Rowley were reportedly ready to ask of Apple, Samsung, and Google at a meeting held on Tuesday.
The move comes as London grapples with a 28% 12-month increase in mobile phone thefts in the capital city with 157 phones being stolen on average every single day. That equates to a massive 57,174 a year.
‘An important milestone’
The Daily Mail reports that Kahn sees the meeting with Apple and other companies as « an important milestone to developing a practical and long-term solution to ending the menace of mobile phone crime, which we know is driving violence and criminality in our communities – not just in London but across the UK. »
Khan believes that rather than police tackle the thefts themselves, Apple should work to make it harder and less profitable for criminals to sell their stolen goods. Right now, he says, it’s simply too easy for them.
« That must change and is why, alongside strengthening neighborhood policing and record investment in supporting the police to go after the worst offenders, the Commissioner and I are now working closely with the mobile phone industry to develop innovative and technological solutions that make a stolen phone far less desirable and usable by thieves, » Khan said,
High-value devices, like Apple’s best iPhones, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, are easy targets for thieves as people walk around London making calls and using them for navigation. Police commissioner Rowley says that arrests have been made, but that « until we design out the ability for phones to be used in the way they currently are, we will be stuck in a vicious circle. »
Apple’s iOS software already offers strong built-in protections against theft. You can use Apple’s Find My app to locate a lost or stolen device. Lost Mode lets you lock the phone and display a message stating the phone is missing, and you can even erase your iPhone remotely.