People are willing to shell out a ton of cash and potentially put themselves in danger to retrieve their stolen smartphones, a new study from Lookout Mobile Security has found.
According to Lookout, which worked with IDG Research to conduct the study, between 50% of phone theft victims would pay $US500 to get their devices back.
What’s more, one-third of theft victims would pay $US1,000 to retrieve their stolen smartphones, and 68% of the polled victims would put themselves in some sort of danger to regain their handset.
It’s not the device itself that’s so valuable to those victims, but the data stored on those smartphones, as Lookout notes. This includes anything from photos to videos, contacts, music, apps, and banking information.
The survey also found that 44% of smartphones were stolen because owners had forgotten them in a public setting, and 14% of devices were taken from a car or house that was burglarized. Only 11% of victims had a smartphone stolen off their person.
According to Lookout, phones are most commonly stolen in restaurants and nightclubs (16% and 11%, respectively), while only 5% are stolen off the street.
IDG Research and Lookout fielded the survey to respondents in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The results are based on 2,403 responses from participants who said they have had their smartphone stolen at some point.
Smartphones have become increasingly attractive for thieves over the years. According to Consumer Reports, more than 3 million handsets were stolen in 2013. Unsurprisingly, smartphone theft has been especially rampant in large cities, with Consumer Reports writing that theft has increased by 26% in Los Angeles since 2011. Smartphone robberies were also up 23% in San Fransisco in 2013, and 18% of all grand larcenies in New York City last year involved Apple products.
Los Angeles yoga instructor Sarah Maguire’s story provides a perfect example of the risks people are willing to take to retrieve their smartphones. After she used Find My iPhone to track down her stolen iPhone’s location, she and her roommate headed to his house to retake their smartphones, The New York Times reported last week.
California State Senator Mark Leno has been trying to address smartphone theft with an initiative that has been nicknamed the “kill switch bill.” The effort would require all phones in California to be preloaded with anti-theft software that would completely shut down a device once it’s been reported stolen. California senators recently shot down the initiative.