Database could decrease crimes

by Ricardo C
This article talks about how a database could reduce crimes. According to the article, an average of 40% of robberies involve cell phones. The majority of these robberies are violent and with serious injuries. The database promises that wireless providers will deactivate your mobile device if you report it stolen. The major wireless providers of USA sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are participating in this database with the purpose to decrease the desire of thieves for stealing mobile devices. Since after deactivating the devices they become as useless as an empty wallet, there is no incentive to steal them. Thieves steal these devices with the intention of reselling them, most likely overseas. According to the article, these four companies mentioned earlier account for the 90% of mobile devices in the USA which mean that this centralized database will cover the majority of the cell phones currently in use. This database will be in effect within six months in the USA and within 18 months globally.
Besides the centralized database, authorities are promoting customers to educate themselves about the use of personal data on mobile devices. Some of these advices are to keep your divides password protected, write down your device’s model and serial number, etc. The article did not disclose the cost of these initiative but certainly the concern here isn’t cost.

I find this article very interesting since the majority of the people has a mobile device. Buying a smartphone may be expensive and thieves know this; with the availability of many websites such as ebay or craigslist someone can easily steal a phone and resell it online gaining a lot a profit from it. The idea of having a centralized database with every mobile phone out there and the possibility of disabling it to make it useless for further activation gives peace of mind to customers. I would feel better knowing that even though I carry an expensive device with me, it would become useless it is deactivated after I report it stolen. A thief has no incentive of stealing it because he or she will not be able to sell it afterwards. I think this is an example of a good utilization of databases to solve real life issues.

Tucker, E. (2012, April 10). Wireless providers to disable stolen phones.Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved April 11, 2012, from

2 thoughts on “Database could decrease crimes”

  1. I’ve read a similar article to this, the problem with this is that if they take the stolen phone to another country, it can be used in that country as long as they don’t have the same database record as the U.S. Currently in the U.S., Verizon and Sprint can block reported stolen phones, but companies such as AT&T and T-Mobile can’t block them because the phones for those companies use SIM cards. For those phones, as long as the SIM cards are swapped they can be reactivated with a different plan. So the database being implemented will have the UDID(Unique Device Identifiers), so that if it is reported to be stolen it will not work even if the SIM card is replaced.

  2. I’ve read somewhere recently that now days, many people store specific personal information on their phones. The link wasn’t working for me but I’ll assume the stolen phones wouldn’t work properly after being reported stolen, but hopefully thieves cant do the next best thing and get that information. As for sim cards, I know an iPhone has a serial number as well, wouldn’t that be good enough?

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