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Think you're safe walking around while texting or talking on your cell phone? Well hold the phone -- and hold it tightly -- because thieves may have you in their sights. Especially if you're in one of America's top 10 cities for stolen cell phones.
A mobile security firm has released its top 10 list, pinpointing not just the worst cities for stolen cell phones, but also how those stolen phones add up to a huge expense for consumers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Meantime, the FCC is answering calls to address the issue by announcing the creation of a national stolen cell phone database, according to the Times.
The stolen cell phone database is called the PROTECTS Initiative, PC Magazine reports. The database will include the phone numbers of stolen phones, so carriers can "lock" the phones and prevent them from being used by thieves.
The "big four" mobile carriers -- AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint -- are teaming up for the PROTECTS Initiative, which follows similar efforts in the UK and elsewhere, according to PC Magazine. The carriers' stolen-phone databases should be up and running within six months; they'll be part of a national system within 18 months.
Until then, cell phone users should guard themselves from cell phone snatchers, especially in the top 10 cities for stolen phones. According to security firm Lookout, those cities are:
1. Atlanta, where lost or stolen cell phones amounted to $50 million in 2011;
2. Ft. Worth, Texas, $48 million;
3. Philadelphia, $48 million;
4. Long Beach, Calif., $47 million;
5. Oakland, Calif., $45 million;
6. Los Angeles, $24 million;
7. Chicago, $40 million;
8. Houston, $39 million;
9. New York, $35 million; and
10. Tampa, $33 million.