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_ Consumers should never leave devices unattended in a public place.

_ They should write down the phone’s make and model, serial number and unique identification number in case it’s stolen. These may be on the device itself, possibly under the battery, or stored digitally on the phone.

_ Consumers can also protect data on a phone by creating a password.

_ Consumers can consider displaying contact information on the screen that shows up when a phone is idle and locked. That way, someone finding a lost phone can reach its owner.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said cellphone thefts have been a persistent problem in the city even as other crime has dropped in the last decade. In December, his department announced the arrests of more than 140 people in a sting operation against small merchants who buy stolen iPhones and iPads.

Kelly likened the new approach to “draining the swamp to fight malaria.”

The FCC said smartphone manufacturers will also implement automatic prompts that encourage users to lock their devices with a password. The industry has also agreed to create a campaign educating consumers about how to protect their cellphones and to release quarterly updates on their progress.

Officials wouldn’t say how much the initiative would cost.

“It certainly won’t be without costs, but we don’t think about cost in this context,” said Guttman-McCabe.

“This is about safety and security,” he added.