HOUSTON – Could California's new "kill switch" law eliminate cell phone theft? At least one Houston robbery detective thinks such a law would reduce crime.
"In many of the robbery incidents I investigate, a cell phone is definitely something that they're after," said Detective Kim Miller of the Houston Police Department.
Over and over again, we see it. Thieves caught on camera hauling away cell phones.
"I was about right here when they presented the gun in my face (and took my phone)," said Tony Salinas.
Two weeks ago, Salinas was robbed at gunpoint. The suspects took cash, credit cards and Salinas' $600 Samsung smartphone.
"It's frustrating in the fact that your whole life is on the phone and there are all sorts of sensitive information," he said.
For such reasons, California's governor signed the nation's first "kill switch" law Monday. It requires all smartphones to be equipped with anti-theft technology, a so-called "kill switch." So, if their phone is stolen, owners can remotely disable their smartphones.
In Texas, "kill switch" technology is available but not required on every phone sold. However, Detective Miller thinks a law would hurt thieves.
"I think it would have a huge impact in the fact that they could not resell the phones to a distributor who could resell it to the public or reuse it for their own personal use," Det. Miller said.
In Salinas' case, police have video of two persons of interest. They used Salinas' stolen credit card to buy food at McDonald's. They still have his phone and detectives are looking for tips to find those thieves.
Fortunately for Salinas, he had "kill switch" to protect his personal information. Salinas just wishes he never had to use it.