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Apple-hungry thieves defy sinking New York City crime stats

NYPD blue over rise in targeted theft incidents

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Thieves in America's largest city have made Apple devices their target of choice, according to police.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) said that it logged some 8,465 grand larceny cases involving Apple products in 2013, part of an overall climb in thefts that defies otherwise declining crime figures in the city.

According to NYPD figures published by The Wall Street Journal, total grand larceny incidents, usually occurring when a thief snatches a device from the victim in a public place, was down just 1 per cent over the last ten years while the targeting of Apple rose from just 25 cases in 2002 to more than 8,000 last year.

The Journal notes that in comparison, serious crime overall in New York has nosedived. Auto thefts are down 72 percent and robberies fell by 30 percent. Murder rates are down 43 percent.

The targeting of Apple devices by criminals is nothing new, say police. In New York alone, snatch-and-grab robberies of iPads, iPhones, and iPods have grown at a steady yet staggering pace over recent years as the continued consumer demand for Apple products has been reflected in the tastes of criminals.

In response, the NYPD has launched campaigns to have consumers register and track their mobile devices with police. In addition to built-in measures such as Find My iPhone, the NYPD offers free etching services (PDF) for mobile devices.

The police department has also launched a series of PSA videos to educate transit passengers on avoiding thefts, primarily by putting away their devices before entering stations and keeping all personal electronics out of view while riding trains and entering and exiting stations.

YouTube video of a crim snatching someone's phone

The theft of electronics from a person's possession is classified by the State of New York as a class E felony grand larceny and carry the threat of both jail time and fines upon conviction. ®

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