Funny Study: Nearly 70% Would Risk Harm to Retrieve a Stolen Cell Phone
Would you risk personal injury to retrieve your cell phone? No? Well, then you're in the minority.
According to a recent study, 68 percent of respondents said they would put themselves in danger to get back a stolen cell phone. Men were only slightly more likely than women to say they would risk harm to recover their phone.
The New York Times highlighted that a growing number of people are using "find your phone" apps to confront thieves.
Here's more from the report:
With smartphone theft rampant, apps like Find My iPhone offer a new option for those desperate to recover their devices, allowing victims like Ms. Maguire to act when the police will not. But the emergence of this kind of do-it-yourself justice — an unintended result of the proliferation of GPS tracking apps — has stirred worries among law enforcement officials that people are putting themselves in danger, taking disproportionate risks for the sake of an easily replaced item.
“This is a new phenomenon — it’s not simply running after the person to grab the phone,” said George Gascón, the San Francisco district attorney and a former police chief. “It opens up the opportunity for people to take the law into their own hands, and they can get themselves into really deep water if they go to a location where they shouldn’t go.”
“Some have been successful,” Mr. Gascón said. “Others have gotten hurt.”
Smartphones have become irresistibly delectable morsels for thieves. More than three million were stolen last year, according to a survey by Consumer Reports. Since 2011, cellphone thefts have risen more than 26 percent in Los Angeles; robberies involving phones were up 23 percent in San Francisco just last year. In New York City, more than 18 percent of all grand larcenies last year involved Apple products.
Victims are often desperate to recover their stolen phones, which, as home to their texts, photos and friends’ phone numbers, can feel less like devices than like extensions of their hands. While iPhones may be the most popular with thieves, apps that can track stolen phones using GPS are now available for most smartphones.
And although pursuing a thief can occasionally end in triumph, it can also lead to violence, particularly because some people arm themselves — hammers are popular — while hunting for their stolen phones.
In San Diego, a construction worker who said his iPhone had been stolen at a reggae concert chased the pilferer and wound up in a fistfight on the beach that a police officer had to break up. A New Jersey man ended up in custody himself after he used GPS technology to track his lost iPhone and attacked the wrong man, mistaking him for the thief.
The Red Eye panel weighed in this morning, with Joanne Nosuchinsky pointing out that this is a result of the high cost of buying a new phone, especially if you don't have insurance. Andy Levy asked whether Americans are just keeping way too much personal information on their devices and have become too dependent on cell phones.
"Should we just write stuff down and put it under our mattresses like the Founding Fathers intended?" he asked.