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Is mobile phone theft becoming an issue of concern?

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Introduction

Is mobile phone theft becoming an issue of concern? 1000 words By Rhiannon Pate 12KH Criterion A The percentage of robberies involving mobile phones has soared from 8% in 1999 to a record 28% in 2001 with 700,000 mobiles being stolen last year in the U.K. alone it was reported on the BBC news web site this month. They also stated that, on New Year's day, a 19 year old woman was shot in the head by a mugger trying to steal her mobile phone. A few days later three boys were held up by a gun man demanding their mobile phone. Experts are now warning, "Do not use your phone when you are on your own at night; set it to vibrate rather than ring; and use locks to prevent people making calls on your phone". Statistically, victims are most likely to be under the age of 17 and, worryingly, the average age of a perpetrator is just 16. ...read more.

Middle

People injured or distressed after the theft of their mobile may cause an increase in people being treated in hospitals putting strain on national health services. The increase in robberies causes police to spend more time on these cases rather than other cases. Also, malicious thieves have the capability to cause the rightful owner of the mobile phone to lose friends, get in to trouble with the police or even lose a job through making prank calls. Insurance companies may increase penalties on home insurance policies. The victim of the theft loses their entire list of contact numbers stored in their phone book, and also their means of being contacted by friends and family. This means they are unable to contact others or be contacted which becomes a big problem in an emergency if they are reliant on their mobile phone. Criterion D One of the most up to date methods of controlling mobile phone theft has been named "text bombing" and the scheme is being piloted in Holland. ...read more.

Conclusion

A spokeswoman for BT Cellnet stated that IMEI barring is ineffective as "new IMEIs can be programmed" and the handset is still "completely usable" anyway as all IMEI barring does is "stop calls being made on the network that barred it". Although there are many problems arising from both of these solutions, I believe the most effective will be IMEI number barring and the use of IMEI numbers to return stolen phones to their owners. While with "text bombing" a new SIM can be quickly and cheaply installed, IMEI barring presents the thief with a larger problem to overcome and may mean victims incur fewer costs from unauthorised calls. Also, if people record their IMEIs, it makes the risk of getting caught more likely and therefore, mobile phone theft becomes very unattractive. Criterion E Daily Express, Rachel Baird, 9th February, 2002 http://news.bbc.co.uk, 7th January, 2002 http://www.guardian.co.uk/mobile, 30th January, 2002 Home Office Research Study: "Mobile Phone Theft", December 2001 http://www.idg.net/idgns/DutchPoliceFightsCellPhoneTheft.shtml, 30th January, 2002 (1000 words excluding Criterion E) ...read more.

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