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Will Free Mobile Phones Mean Less Crime?

For years there have been stories about how mobile phone theft is a big part of street crime these days. To counter that, some authorities in South Africa are looking at handing out free mobile phones, pointing out that whoever donates the phone can subsidize the costs with more usage fees. Of course, that assumes that stolen mobile phones are being stolen because people just want a phone. That seems unlikely. People are probably more likely stealing mobile phones to either make free phone calls or to resell the higher value phones. As such, the free phone does little to stop the problem - especially since they're likely to be the cheapest, least desirable phones around. Found via textually.org.

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