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Rochester's mayor joins 'Secure our Smartphones' initative

Rochester, N.Y.- Rochesters mayor and police chief are joining a growing coalition of elected officials pushing the electronics industry to protect consumers from Apple Picking.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was at city hall Thursday to announce Mayor Tom Richards and Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, as well as a dozen other officials from across the state are joining the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) Initiative.

Its a groundbreaking coalition of prosecutors, police chiefs, attorneys general, state and city comptrollers and consumer activists working to encourage the smartphone industry to implement meaningful solutions to stop the epidemic known as Apple Picking the theft of popular mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. One idea is to make these devices inoperable after theyre stolen.

In June, Schneiderman met with representatives from Apple, Google/Motorola, Samsung and Microsoft at a Smartphone Summit convened in New York.  

In a statement Schneiderman said, The epidemic of violent street crime involving the theft of mobile devices is a global problem that demands a global solution. Too often in cities, from Rochester and Syracuse to White Plains and New York, our citizens are physically harmed in the course of a smartphone robbery. Those stolen devices are then sold in the lucrative secondary markets around the world. By teaming up with multiple law enforcement and policy leaders, we are sending a powerful message to the multi-national corporations that dominate the electronics industry: They must be good corporate citizens and take steps to ensure the safety of their consumers and our citizens.

In the first six months of 2013, 75% of robberies - or 321 out of the 428 robberies in the city of Rochester involved the theft of a cell phone. Robberies overall during that time climbed 14.4% compared with the first six months of 2012. According to the attorney general's office, Rochester Police attribute the increase to cell phone thefts.

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