Hardware theft is the unauthorized taking of computer hardware. In some cases, corporate or government hardware is stolen to be sold, but in other cases, personal items are targeted. The popularity of smartphones and tablets has made hardware theft a common crime in major cities.
Computer equipment is expensive, and enterprise hardware is especially costly. Many of the most expensive devices are small, and improper security can make businesses tempting targets for thieves. In addition, many pieces of hardware are kept in areas that are not supervised and that are not recorded. While some hardware can be located remotely using GPS devices, most hardware is sold without this capability.
Laptops are another target for thieves. People often carry them into public places, and a moment of complacency can lead to the loss of a device that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars. In recent years, smartphone theft has become widespread in cities around the world. Smartphones and tablets cost hundreds of dollars, and their small size makes them easy to grab. Thieves can often disable software designed to locate a phone if it has been stolen, so many operators now blacklist phones that are reported as stolen. Despite these efforts, stolen phones are often sold online.