Prosecutors push for anti-phone theft measures

NEW YORK — Law enforcement officials nationwide are demanding smartphone ‘‘kill switches’’ to render them inoperable if they are stolen, New York’s top prosecutor said Thursday in a clear warning to manufacturers.

Citing statistics that 1 in 3 robberies involve the theft of a mobile phone, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a coalition devoted to stamping out an ‘‘epidemic’’ of robberies.

‘‘All too often, these robberies turn violent,’’ said Schneiderman, joined at a news conference by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.


The coalition, the Secure Our Smartphones Initiative, includes prosecutors, police, political officials, and consumer advocates from more than a dozen states. It will pressure companies and shareholders to help dry up the market for stolen phones.

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‘‘We’re prepared to deepen our inquiry if that is appropriate,’’ Schneiderman said. He would not elaborate.

He likened the functionality of a ‘‘kill switch’’ to the ability for consumers to cancel a stolen credit card.