Combating Cell Phone Theft
New central database will help make stolen cellphones useless.
A new plan announced in Washington Tuesday will to make life a lot tougher for people who steal smart phones and other digital devices.
Phone carriers and manufacturers are working together to create a blacklist that would render stolen devices useless.
Law enforcement officials are hoping to pull the plug on a rapidly growing sector of crime by removing the profit motive.
The ultimate goal is a global blacklist that would make stolen devices worthless.
Within six months, stolen phones and tablets can be entered into a national database and remotely crippled.
The gadgets are not only expensive, they're lockboxes for our most personal information and account for as much as 40 percent of thefts reported in America's big cities.
"It's like draining the swamp to fight malaria. What we are doing is drying up the market," says New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
European carriers are already using a similar system with great success.
The nation's five biggest carriers are on board, with more to come.