CRIME

New legislation announced to crack down on cell phone theft

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(WJLA) - Cell phone thefts on local transportation is on the rise, happening now on Metro an average of two times every day. Officials say thieves target smartphones for their high resale value and for the valuable personal information they contain.

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Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski is now working to deter these kind of thefts. Thursday, standing alongside Metro leaders, she announced new legislation she's pushing that would require providers to put a kill switch on smartphones. It would allow people to delete personal information and remotely make their devices inoperable at no extra cost.

Cell phone theft jumped last year on Metro and across the district. It rose in the city from 1,073 in 2013 to 1,486 in 2013. That is a 19.9 percent rise.

Mikulski and D. C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier believe that taking the profit out of the crime will lead to a decline in snatch and grab cell phone thefts.

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