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Fighting Crime With...Tech Recycling?

One of the most critical components to reducing crime is community engagement in promoting public safety.  While individuals’ contributions are important, businesses also play an important part in this collaboration.  EcoATM, for example, manages kiosks that “can pay cash for your old cell phones, MP3 players and tablets, all while helping combat the growing problem of e-waste.”  So…what does recycling have to do with preventing crime? 

Well, cell phones are becoming an increasingly common target for theft.  In New York City, more than half of all thefts involve a smartphone.  The same is true in San Francisco, where the victims of these thefts recover less than one in ten stolen smartphones.  Recognizing a serious problem, EcoATM created a partnership with law enforcement to help address this issue.

“Cell phone theft…is really the modern-day, 21st century purse-snatch.” –Joe Garrity, Commander, San Francisco Police Department

Right now, EcoATMs have several features built into the transaction process to help provide information to law enforcement.  To sell a phone, you have your photo taken, your ID scanned, your thumbprint taken, the serial number of your item is cross-referenced with registries for lost or stolen items, and the whole transaction is remotely verified in real time by an EcoATM employee.  Furthermore, if law enforcement believes a stolen item is in an EcoATM, they can call the company and have the kiosk in question remotely opened to retrieve the item and return it to its owner, free of charge.

“The ability for EcoATM to find and return a phone is something that we built into the process.” –Ryan Kuder, EcoATM

There are 2500 EcoATM kiosks in 42 states across the nation, with 27 kiosks in Florida, alone.  These recycling kiosks not only help cops improve public safety by locating stolen devices and aiding arrests and convictions, but also build up the integrity of the brand and protect the company from potential legal issues; both of which are good for business.

It is critical that business owners understand and acknowledge the impact of crime on their businesses as well as their role in preventing crime on behalf of their communities.  There are many ways businesses can partner with law enforcement to protect the public as well as their products, customers, and employees. Being aware of opportunities to assist law enforcement will help ensure Florida is a safe and happy place for families and businesses.    
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