Stolen phones will soon become much less valuable. The CRTC announced today that the association of cell phone providers will create a blacklist of stolen phones, which will no longer be able to connect to the carriers. They did this to make stolen phones much less valuable, and thus make muggings less profitable.
Weston has suffered from a rash of cell phone muggings. Last year there were 139 muggings in 12 Division (which includes but is much larger than Weston). Already this year there have 166 robberies in 12 Division, and at least 22 muggings in Weston. In every case, the muggers demanded the victim’s phone.
I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that this national change started in Weston. Students at Chaminade have been pushing for a solution to neighbourhood muggings, and both Frances Nunziata and Mike Sullivan deserve credit for getting the telcos to act. Sullivan has been lobbying in Ottawa and in the House, speaking at length on the issue. Nunziata has been working with the Police Services Board and the Canadian Association of Police Boards to pressure the feds.
Sullivan said, rather understatedly, that this is “a bit of good news. I’ve been raising this issue every chance I got.” He said some work remains to be done, including ensuring that it becomes illegal (and not merely very difficult) to change a phone’s serial number, but expressed optimism that the database would be running before the end of September 2013.