Gray Announces Anti-Cell Phone Theft Initiative, Website

12/4/2012, 2:03 p.m.

Mayor Vincent. C. Gray and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier have announced availability of a new tool that fights against smart phone theft known as "bricking."

"Smart-phone theft has unfortunately been on the rise in the District and, as part of my One City Action plan, I laid out clear actions to ensure that every neighborhood in this city is safe," said Mayor Gray. "The ability to 'brick' -- by rendering one's phone inoperable -- sends a clear message to phone thieves and those who fence these phones, that the [rightful owners] will not stand idle and let this type of crime continue in our neighborhoods."

In the District, New York and other large American cities, roughly 40 percent of all robberies now involve smart phones - endangering the physical safety of victims, as well as the security of the personal information on the stolen devices.

In addition to the loss and injury experienced during the initial crime, there is an added risk of identity theft if the stolen smart phone isn't password-protected to prevent a thief from getting access to private information on the device.

If a person's smart phone is lost or stolen, he or she may now contact the carrier and ask to have that device remotely disabled. If a smart phone is rendered inactive in such a manner, it's often considered to be as useful as a brick.

However, "bricked" phones are of little use to thieves because they can't be reactivated after being sold on the black market. The Metropolitan Police Department is encouraging victims of smart phone thefts to call their carriers and to "brick it."

More information is available at www.brickit.dc.gov

Source: D.C. Mayor's Office