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NYC mayor pins crime rate spike on iPhone, iPad theft

If it weren't for Apple kit, crime would be down

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Major crime is on the rise in New York City, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the increase is due entirely to thefts of Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, which he says are inordinately attractive to thieves.

As reported by The New York Times, Bloomberg raised the issue during Friday's edition of his weekly morning broadcast with John Gambling on WOR radio, during which he discusses current issues in the city.

According to Bloomberg, the New York Police Department's annual crime index – a composite statistic that tallies such felonies as murder, grand larceny, and robbery – recorded 3,484 more major crimes in 2012 than in the previous year, an increase of 3.3 per cent.

Take thefts of iPhones and iPads out of the mix, however, and you end up with a rather different picture. 3,890 more Apple products were snatched during the year than in 2011, more than enough to account for the entire increase in overall crime.

"If you just took away the jump in Apple, we'd be down for the year," Marc La Vorgna, the mayor's press secretary, told the Times.

Most other types of crime in the city are indeed on the decline, and have been since 1991. For example, in 1990 the NYPD recorded 2,245 homicides. The current tally for this year is 414, putting New York on track to record its lowest murder rate since it first began compiling statistics in 1963.

On his radio program, Bloomberg said he had not broken out thefts of devices made by Apple's competitors, such as Samsung and HTC, but he observed that iPhones and iPads seemed to be particular targets for thieves in New York. The rate of such thefts is increasing ten times faster than that of other types of crime.

Similar trends have been observed in cities across the nation. In San Francisco, home of The Reg's West Coast aerie, thefts of Apple products accounted for nearly half of all robberies in 2012. Cell phone robberies were also up in St. Louis, where Mayor Francis Slay observed in September, "It will take a national solution to make this problem go away."

While federal legislation to prevent cell phone theft does not yet appear to be in the offing, however, Mayor Bloomberg did have some advice for iDevice owners in New York.

"Put it in a pocket in sort of a more body-fitting, tighter clothes, that you can feel if it was – if somebody put their hand in your pocket, not just an outside coat pocket," he said. ®

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