It's a bad time to be a pickpocket or mugger. Starting this July, all smartphones sold in California must come with a kill switch -- software that allows the phone's owner to disable the device should it be stolen. This makes the phones more difficult to resell and less of a target for thieves.
The smartphone kill switch may already be working. Smartphone thefts have dropped drastically in the last year, which some advocates attribute to the growing prevalence of the kill switches.