Smartphone theft is a common crime. In fact, about one out of ten smartphone owners in America have had their phone stolen from them at one point. And 68% of victims never recovered their phones.

Lookout Smartphone Theft alert

The problem of smartphone thefts

For most smartphone theft victims, there really isn’t much they can do after the phone is stolen. The best thing any smartphone owner can or should do is prevent the theft from happening in the first place. But now there is a new app that could change that. Lookout recently introduced its new Theft Alerts app.

Kevin Maheffey (co-founder of Lookout) said, “From the day we started Lookout, we’ve dedicated ourselves to fighting smartphone theft. Today, the problem has grown so large that nearly 70% of phone theft victims never get their phone back. This is not right. That’s why we decided to build Theft Alerts, a real-time service that intelligently arms users with information they need to get their precious devices and data back.”

How Lookout Theft Alerts work

This system works by alerting users when suspicious activity occurs on their stolen phone. Common alarms may include incorrect passcodes, SIM card removal, or enabled airplane mode. A more unique feature of this app is that it secretly snaps a photo of the thief with the front facing camera when he or she is playing with the phone. Lookout calls these photos “thefties,” as a take on the term “selfies.”

Lookout’s Theft Alerts is not the only solution in combating device thefts. A few phones already have built-in recovery systems. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has its own version called Find My iPhone, which allows users to lock stolen phones remotely and pinpoint the location of the device. There are also kill switch features that render a phone inoperable if stolen.

Of course it is important to point out that no solution is a guarantee the user’s phone won’t get stolen. However, this new app should still help make a difference.