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NYPD: iPhone thefts rising ten times rate of other crimes

'Operation ID' helps take a bite out of smartphone crime

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Thefts of iPhones and iPads in New York City have increased at a rate ten times higher than other crime during this year – and the police are offering help to protect your Apple kit.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne told Bloomberg that iPads and iPhones are a "magnet for crime, including robberies, driving the spike we've experienced this year."

NYPD records show that Apple products accounted for 11,447 incidents since the beginning of this year – an increase of 40 per cent over the same period last year. By comparison, other "index crimes" – seven offenses that include such heinous unpleasantries as murder, rape, and robbery – increased a mere 4 per cent.

"As if to mirror the market place," Browne told Cnet, "thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers declined."

To combat this surge in felonious fanboi filching, members of the NYPD constabulary positioned themselves in 21 New York stores selling the iPhone 5 on its debut day last Friday to help purchasers of Apple's latest kit register their new shiny-shiny to enable the police to trace them if they were to fall into the wrong hands.

The helpful members of New York's finest registered the iPhone's serial numbers and offered to engrave upon them a unique serial number with the letters "NYC" added to help identify recovered handsets. Brown said that around 1,500 iPhone 5's were set up with help from the NYPD boys in blue.

The wily gendarmes have also run sting operations to catch miscreants attempting to fence Apple kit, as well as using decoys to catch theives preying on subway passengers.

Officers have also used the iCloud-based "Find my iPhone" feature, which uses the handset's location services to pinpoint its whererabouts, to track down stolen handsets, and during last Friday's "Operation ID" in-store events, passed out instructions to iPhone users on how to set up that feature on their new iPhone 5s.

That cloudy phone-finding system, by the way, was recently used by San Francisco police to track down a stolen iPhone in an altercation that involved an officer discharging her sidearm at one of the alleged thieves. She missed.

iPhones may be popular status symbols and reasonably fine smartphones, but is acquiring one worth commiting a felony and being shot at? The Reg thinks not. ®

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