Smartphone thefts have dropped dramatically since the adoption of kill switches last year, according to a survey from Consumer Reports. Their latest data shows that there were one million fewer thefts in 2014 compared to 2013.
The Consumer Reports 2013 survey revealed an estimated 3.1 million smartphone thefts, but that number dropped to 2.1 million in 2014. These numbers are consistent with other reports from earlier this year that showed a 25-40% theft decline in major cities in the United States.
Consumer Reports used a slightly different method of data collection for their 2014 survey, but they attribute a great deal of the decrease to the recent adaptation of smartphone kill switches. These allow users to “brick” their phones if they are lost or stolen, making them inoperable to tech-crazed thieves.
Apple offers a kill switch as a default feature on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but Android does not have it installed on their phones at this time. Experts predict that will change when Android Lollipop 5.1 launches sometime this summer.
If you have an Android device or an earlier model iPhone, there are still security measures you can take to protect your phone in the event of a theft. Make sure you maintain insurance on your phone to cover the cost of your replacement, and you may have minimal loss if your phone is ever taken from you.