DENVER (CBS4) – Thieves in Colorado are stealing cellphones more often, but a new agreement among major cell providers may put a damper on that trend.
The four largest cellphone carriers announced this week they are setting up a centralized database that will have the unique ID number of every cellphone. That will allowing them to disable the phone quickly and easily.
Sen. Mark Udall called on the telecommunications industry and FCC to stop reactivating stolen phones last month. He says he’s “thrilled” by the announcement.
“It only makes sense that we would create this database to ensure that a phone after it’s stolen is a worthless brick, versus what it is now. It’s black market gold right now,” Udall said.
Sonny Jackson, a spokesman for the Denver Police Department, said so far this year 155 iPhone thefts have been reported. Jackson says in many cases victims not only lose a phone but their identity.
“If somebody steals your cellphone they have a lot of information and they know a lot about you,” Jackson said.
Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-mobile will reportedly have the national database in place in six months. It could take a year and a half before all carriers are merged in.
“It’s just like with anything else,” said Jackson. “If you take value away from it the thieves don’t want it as much because now all of a sudden you can’t just go reprogram (the phone) and get it going again.”
Other countries have already moved to block stolen phones. Australia says its database has reduced cellphone thefts by 25 percent.
Denver police advise that people should treat cellphone like money. Don’t wave a around or leave it sitting and visible in your car.