Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduces a bill to ban the use of automated purchasing machines

In Blondell Reynolds Brown by admin


(PHILADELPHIA) Thursday October 3, 2013—Today, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill to ban the use of automated purchasing machines. The bill is co-sponsored by Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., Chair of the City Council Committee on Public Safety. The machines dispense instant cash in exchange for cell phones, mp3 players and/or electronic tablets. After an electronic evaluation of the device, the consumer receives cash on the spot based on the market value of the phone and its current working condition.  Newer, more expensive devices yield higher cash payouts to the consumer. The bill bans the machines from operating within the City of Philadelphia and provides for the seizure and forfeiture of such machines. There is currently one such machine in operation at the Franklin Mills Mall. In March 2013, Lookout, a global mobile security firm reported that Philadelphia has the highest lost/stolen cell phone rate in the nation. AAA also reports that one in three robberies nationwide involve a cell phone. “Most Philadelphians have either been the victim of, or know someone who has had a cell phone, iPod, tablet or other electronic device stolen. This is a major public safety concern.  Cell phone robberies are the crime of today and far too many of them are turning violent. We as a City cannot allow further incentives entice criminal activity,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown.  “This is also an economic concern because these devices are very expensive. A stolen cell phone can break the bank for a lot of families, particularly those who give them to young people to stay in touch. These machines are not the right fit for the City of Philadelphia.” Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is echoing law enforcement and public officials in cities like Washington, D.C and Baltimore, who are similarly concerned that such machines will further encourage criminal activity and theft.  In September 2013, Baltimore City Council passed a bill to ban the machines which was subsequently signed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; a statewide ban in Maryland was introduced by Delegate Luke Clippinger. In a March interview with the Washington Post, a D.C. Police spokesperson said “This is a huge problem. The opportunity for quick cash is driving robberies of smartphones.”

For more information, contact Jason Lewis, Communications Manager at 215-686-3438 or 267-250-2925

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