Councilman proposes ordinance to license cellphone dealers to help crack down on phone thefts

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati City Councilmember Chris Seelbach and members of the Cincinnati Police Department announced Thursday a multi-pronged effort to reduce cellphone theft in Cincinnati.

Seelbach will be introducing to City Council an ordinance that modernizes Cincinnati's secondhand dealer laws, which haven't been updated since the 1980s, according to Seelbach.

The modernization will ensure that all cellphone dealers and pop up stores are licensed with the city.

“We’re bringing our regulations in line with the rest of the state of Ohio, ensuring that all transactions are cataloged and records are available for police inspection,” said Seelbach. “Dealers will now need to keep copies of driver’s licenses, serial numbers, dates and purchase prices available for inspection.”

The New York Times has reported that nationally the number one form of personal theft is now cellphone theft. The Federal Communications Commission has stated that one in three robberies now involve taking a phone.

The Cincinnati Police Department is also continuing their “Outsmart Smartphone Thieves” educational campaign. They advise the following:

• Don’t leave device unattended – keep you phone in your hand or in your pocket or purse
• Be aware of your surroundings when using your device
• Don’t allow anyone you don’t know personally to use your device
• Set device passwords – have your phone password-protected at all times
• Download a security and locator application – often free with new smartphones
• Write down your serial number now, so you have it if your phone is stolen

Police say if you become a victim, to practice the following:

• Give up your property
• Get a good suspect description
• Call 911
• Make a report
• Contact your carrier
• Activate GPS/Location Apps, but do not attempt to recover your phone

“By cracking down on shady business practices and educating the public on how to be smart with their phones, we can reduce smartphone thefts in our city, and buck the national trend of increased cellphone thefts,” Seelbach said.

Licensing for secondhand dealers will cost $400 per year and penalties for noncompliance include a suspended license, revoked license and even being charged with a misdemeanor.

For more on this initiative, go to http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/police/news/outsmart-smartphone-thieves-initiative/ .

Outsmart Smartphone Thieves from CitiCable on Vimeo .

 

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