Smartphone kill switches may very well be mandatory in the future but are the solutions already on the market - namely, the Activation Lock feature in iOS 7 - actually doing anything to curb smartphone theft in high-risk areas? It would appear so.

According to a report from The New York Times, theft of Apple devices since Activation Lock was introduced seems to be down across the board. Police in San Francisco said iPhone theft dropped 38 percent in the six months before and after the feature debuted. In London, another hotbed for thieves, police reported a 24 percent drop in stolen Apple handsets.

The trend continues in New York as robberies involving Apple gear dropped 19 percent in the first five months of this year compared to the same time period a year ago.

It's clear that iPhone thefts are on the decline although one has to be cautious of giving all the credit to Activation Lock. As Maximum PC points out, there are other factors at play that need to be considered as well such as increased effort from tech companies and law enforcement to educate people consumers regarding extra security measures they can take.

Things like setting up a passcode are being pushed more now than ever. You'd be surprised at how many people operate devices filled with confidential data without a passcode.

Looking ahead, it appears that both Google and Microsoft are working on anti-theft technologies of their own that will be baked into future revisions of Android and Windows Phone, respectively. Perhaps government intervention won't be needed after all.