This article originally appeared on WBGO.org
In Newark, robbers can turn around and sell stolen phones to local pawn shops for hundreds of dollars, no questions asked. North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos is proposing a law he says would put a stop to that practice.
Under the law, anyone selling a phone would first have to provide buyers with two forms of ID. And second-hand dealers would have to keep records on every phone they buy.
Ramos says if criminals know they’ll have to give out their information to sell the phone, they’re less likely to steal it in the first place.
"Now they have to provide identification," he says. "Information that the city and the police department would have access to."
He says cell phone robbery is the fastest growing sector of violent crime in Newark.
“I had a murder in my ward a little over a month ago with a young lady they basically robbed her of her cell phone and the incident unfortunately turned deadly, so this is an important step for us to be able to track who’s buying phones within the city of Newark but also to get information '
More than a third of strong-arm robberies committed in Newark last year were cell phone thefts.