West Seattle and beyond, Apple “kill switch” might reduce iProduct robberies

Just as Apple products prove irresistible to many consumers, they have a similar draw for would-be robbers by easily fetching hundreds of dollars on the black market. As Seattle Police Lt. Daniel Whalen discussed with the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council in April of this year, robberies on West Seattle soil are predominantly targeting those exhibiting an Apple device, be it an iPhone, iPod or iPad.

Good news on that front emerged at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 10, when the company announced a “kill switch” option will be part of their next operating system update coming out this fall to all mobile devices.

As tech reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken with the San Francisco Chronicle explained from the conference, “The switch will enable a user to deactivate a stolen cell phone via a website. It will prevent a thief from erasing the owner’s data from the phone, even if the SIM card – the integrated circuit that includes an owner’s password and other identifying information – is removed, Apple said.”

Law enforcement agencies nationwide have been critical of cell phone technology (from all manufacturers) that allows thieves to erase data from a stolen phone and starting it up fresh, ready for a new owner.

Critics have said cell phone manufacturers and service providers have been resistant to kill switch technology because reactivated phones, whether they change hands through theft or legitimate means, mean a new contract and more money.

While the threat of Apple theft will never fully go away, the kill switch could potentially reduce iProduct robberies, a public safety issue across the world.

Lt. Whalen suggested people keep their telltale white Apple headphones out of sight in public places, as they are a dead giveaway that an Apple product is connected on the other end. The problem, of course, is that many use their iProduct for music and other entertainment while in commute, whether walking or taking public transportation.

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