According to the FCC, approximately 40 percent of thefts in major U.S. cities involve cell phones.
That's why Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is looking to crack down on cell phone thefts.
He's proposing a new bill, the Mobile Device Theft Deterrence Act, that would stiffen penalties for those who tamper with phone identification numbers to avoid a phone shutdown, making it a federal crime punishable by up to five years in jail.
It would work in conjunction with the Stolen Cell Phone Registry that began operation late last year.
Victims can report the crime and have their phones permanently disabled, so they are unable to be re-sold on the black market.