New Calls for Smartphone Kill Switch as Thefts Increase

Family of girl killed for iPhone call for phone companies to do more to protect their consumers.
3:00 | 03/04/14

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Transcript for New Calls for Smartphone Kill Switch as Thefts Increase
The latest on our country's fastest growing crime. More that 1.5 million smartphones are stolen every year and there is a push for phone companies to do pore to protect their consumers. Pierre Thomas has the details from Washington. Good morning. Reporter: Good morning. Smartsmoen theft has become epidemic. Hard to believe but thieves will kill you for your phone. It can happen so fast. Watch as this thief snatches a victim's smartphone on a Washington, D.C. Subway. He takes the phone. The victim chases but this race is not close. The crook easily escapes. In Philadelphia, thieves race across the street to rob this young man at gunpoint. They methodically search him and steal his cell phone. To many criminals cell phones are as valuable as cash. Today in the United States, one in three robberies and thefts involves a smartphone. Reporter: In 2012 what lone there were an estimated 1.6 million cell phone thefts across the country. Robberies that are sometimes violent. Police say 23-year-old Megan Boken, a former volleyball star was gunned down 18 months ago. She was talking on her smartphone. At the time she was talking to her mother just checking in. Megan was the kind of person you could always count on to brighten your day. Reporter: Boken's family calls on Washington to get a kill switch. That will remove the incentive for anyone to steal a smartphone. Reporter: The cell phone companies say they are trying to develop technologies to assist but worry that changes might make smartphones more vulnerable to hacking but critics say the phone companies are reluctant because they typically sell a new phone every time one is stolen. They're making $30 billion, $40 billion, $50 billion a year on new phone sales. They don't want to lose it. Shame on them. Reporter: While the debate continues, a word of advice, be careful where you're using your phone in public. You're right about that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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