Three new design innovations to tackle mobile phone crime, including a device that locks a phone and alerts the owner if it is taken away from them, have been unveiled today. The prototypes were developed by teams of designers and technology experts as part of the Mobile Phone Security Challenge, an initiative from the Home Office Design and Technology Alliance and the Design Council, with support and funding from the Technology Strategy Board.
Although the adoption of the designs by the industry is by no means guaranteed, very few people disagree that more needs to be done to address crime relating to mobile phones and portable devices. Although overall crime has dropped since 1997, according to research performed by the University of Leicester, the type of crimes being committed has changed. Their findings suggest that a decade ago burglary was attractive to criminals as they would find households containing DVD players, videos etc that were easy to sell on. These days DVD players cost as little as £20 so have hardly any resale value.
As the phones and media devices we carry around with us have become more powerful, their values have increased and along with it their attractiveness to criminals.
Commenting on the research findings criminology lecturer James Treadwell said:
While we might have seen a decline in some types of crime, we have seen a rise in other forms of criminal activity, particularly young people who seem to be mugging one another
DVD players for example, got cheaper, certain consumer items became smaller and were very, very expensive and sought after, and so the latest mobile phone, or the latest iPod, which people carry about them, have become targets for robbers.
Mobile phone crime will never be an easy issue to address especially as devices become enabled for mobile payments, but new designs and initiatives like the Immobilise National Property Register / NMPR will continue to combat crime.