Starting July 1, 2015, every smartphone sold in California will be required to have a kill switch, which allows the user to make the phone unusable if stolen.
The phone itself is valuable but data such as pictures and account information are even more important. If the phone is lost, it can easily be replaced but if the content is not backed up, the information will not be recoverable. The best case scenario is losing the phone itself but in the worst case possible, the thief may use the data from the phone maliciously. Technology evolves so quickly that it is always steps ahead of the law.
I am both surprised and impressed at how fast the law was instituted in order to mitigate ubiquitious phone crimes. I have heard many anecdotal stories where phone thieves target people on public transportation in the city. At the very least, I believe that this law will make thieves think twice before committing crimes. After a couple of years, it will be interesting to look at the theft data to see if the kill switch discouraged phone thieves from stealing.