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back to article NYC mayor pins crime rate spike on iPhone, iPad theft

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 …

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Headmaster

Perhaps realising that there are times of day and places where.............

.............your fashionable accessory should not be on display might be a smart move (advice which of course applies to all property that is easy for thieves to turn over).

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Anonymous Coward

Statistics....

Murder was down but robbery, grand larceny and rape was up.

Does that mean if you own own an iPhone you are more likely to be a victim but if you own an Android phone or Blackberry you are less likely to be robbed and raped?

No wonder sales of Android phones in New York have shot up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Statistics....

It's the Android users committing the crimes - obviously.

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Re: Perhaps realising that there are times of day and places where.............

Indeed - given how Apple users seem to walk around holding their iphones in front of them all the time, it doesn't seem surprising. Another thing I note is how Apple laptops users seem far more likely to carry their laptop everywhere they go, where as most people usually leave them at home, or keep them carried in a bag if they're travelling.

Not to mention that Apple products are plastered in obvious logos (in some cases light up!), which helps advertise that you have a product. And that Apple products are only ever in the expensive range of the market. Personally I prefer my phones, laptops etc to have as subtle or unobvious a logo as possible (plus it just looks better that way - same reason I don't wear Addidas clothes).

Though it's great for Apple because it's yet more free advertising from the media. Just check out stories on thefts - it's always "laptops and Ipads" or "Macbooks and phones" or "Iphones and tablets" - if there's an Apple product stolen, it'll always be mentioned by name, like some kind of product placement ad, whilst other products are just mentioned generically.

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Anonymous Coward

All the Android scrotes stealing iPhones.

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Megaphone

Apple ban!

Well, it's obvious Apple products are a scourge to society, and we need a ban, just like we need a gun ban!

Seriously though, I still can't understand why there isn't a blacklist for stolen phones. Make the phones unusable on a cell network and the theft incentive mostly goes away. Stupid Americans.

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Re: Apple ban!

Stupid American telcos. Let's not paint with such a wide brush, thank you.

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Re: Apple ban!

Isn't authentication on the network done by SIM rather than phone? Rob a phone off a poor New Yorker, put a different SIM into it - who will notice?

I am not an iPhone user - what am I missing?

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Re: Apple ban!

Both the SIM and IMEI number are required to identify a phone to the network. The IMEI is unique to a particular handset and the SIM for a subscriber.

That's how you can still make an emergency call without a SIM.

It's pretty trivial to block stolen phones using the IMEI, and I believe it's done automatically in Europe.

No idea why the US telcos don't, it would help reduce EU phone crime as well by taking away one fairly large fencing destination.

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404
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Re: Apple ban!

Verizon can and will brick a cell phone - had to do so recently with a Samsung 4G Stratosphere that 'walked with Jesus' (Verizon's term, not mine lol). SIM had been changed out and they disabled it anyway.

Don't know what Bloomberg goes on about - pretty sure his "No Soft Drinks Over 16 oz" campaign fizzled too.

;)

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Re: Apple ban!

I seem to recall reading (here or wired or latimes) that the US telcos were going to start tracking lost/stolen IMEIs and blocking them. This won't stop thefts because 1) not all criminals are smart and 2) there'd still be an over-seas market for the devices.

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@hypernovasoftware

It may be a wide brush but let's not forget it's Major Bloomberg we're talking about. The guy throws out bans as solutions to everything. It doesn't matter what it is, it could be guns, video games, plastic bags or super size soda. The guy is about a pecan short of being a total nutter and, frankly, he should be banned from power.

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Re: Apple ban!

As far as I understand, IMEI is not used for authentication, it is just some identifier of the device. I find it rather hard to believe that it cannot be changed given physical access to to the device. So of course, if the IMEI of the stolen phone is blocked a random mugger or thief will have a brick. Someone with the appropriate tools/SW will still have a working phone, won't he?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Apple ban!

On the contrary - give everyone and iPhone and then there is no point stealing them?

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Coat

Re: Apple ban!

That's why, when in New York, I hide my iPhone in my 64-oz soda cup.

Mine's the one with "Brave New World" in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

We used to have the same problem

In the UK we used to have the same problem in the pre-Apple days.

It went down drastically after the government mandated the cellular operators to implement a nationwide IMEI blacklist. The operators huffed and puffed about the technical problems of implementing it and finally gave up a few years ago (in reality it was about lost insurance sales as nobody buys insurance any more). It took less than half a year after that for the phone-related crime to start dropping and it has been droping steadily ever since.

In the particular case of Apple it is actually Apple at fault.Apple devices are more or less unusable without Apple services (iTunes, iCloud, etc). This makes it trivial for Apple to implement a UUID lock for all of its devices all the way to the measly iPod nano. What's the point of stealing an iDevice if you can neither sell it nor use it as it goes on to brick itself immediately after connecting to any Apple service.

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Re: We used to have the same problem

It has been a good few years since I read in New Scientist that the IMEI blacklist had been extended to operators across Europe, so that thieves couldn't simply pass on stolen phones to their cousins in other countries.

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@Anon 08:42

Why do I have the feeling that if Apple announced that iPhones reported as stolen would be instantly bricked that all the Apple haters would be screaming about how it is just Apple trying to increase their profits by taking stolen devices off the market...

I think it would be good if Apple does it, but only based on a proper police report. Otherwise you'd have people bricking iPhones they could get the IMEI or UUID from (i.e. via access to the computer they use for iTunes or a moment alone with it to view them) as a prank or dirty trick, or revenge for an ex-girlfriend or whatever. At least by requiring the police report such false reports would be much less likely (since making a false report is a crime)

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Paris Hilton

Just ban Apple products

...so crime will go down again. Simple.

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Re: Just ban Apple products

Conversely, force an Apple monopoly and set up OffApple to set Apple prices at a level that even a Blackberry buyer can afford.

You destroy the fashionable argument, but I suppose the downside is eventually 100% of stolen phones are Apple. Damn you, statistics!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just ban Apple products

No then the Android users would go and mug grannies instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just ban Apple products

The rest just isn't worth stealing. Even criminals have standards. If you found a blackberry you would probably just put it in the bin to help the owner ;)

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Re: Just ban Apple products

>Just ban Apple products... so crime will go down again. Simple.

Aw, FFS. It used to be care stereos that were stolen. They stopped bothering after almost every car came with a reasonable stereo- there was not much of a market any more.

Sat nav units have been a popular target, but again, they have dropped in price.

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Re: Just ban Apple products

If you say so. The only reason an iphone would be worth having for free, is so you could sell on to some mug at a ridiculous price. Personally I'll stick with my Samsung Android.

(And I've lost track of the absurd number of "Win a free ipad" - seems it is a case of having to give them away, after all.)

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Re: Just ban Apple products

Which make of car stereo was stolen? I mean, it's apparently so important to mention Apple specifically, but if it's another product, it's just a generic term that's used...

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Re: Just ban Apple products

Many car stereos now come with a removable front plate, without which they are completely useless.

Of course, putting the front plate in the glove box is an easy way of negating all advantages of this security measure. Unfortunately enough people do this that thieves find it worth bashing the window in just to check.

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FAIL

But...

But....how the numbers stack up when you also take out the Apple related thefts from 2011 too? Unless that figure was zero, then 2012 Apple thefts can't account for all of the increase.

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FAIL

Re: But... Reading fail, fail

"3,890 more Apple products were snatched during the year than in 2011"

"If you just took away the jump in Apple, we'd be down for the year,"

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Crime rates

Washington and Colorado US have legalized marijuana. So you can expect a 50% drop in crime rates there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crime rates

Don't believe the cuddly stoner image. Have a look at all the crimes attributed to cannabis:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/search/news/?q=cannabis

There's one of two murders, rapes and all sorts. Alcohol is no better either.

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Thumb Down

Re: Crime rates

After a quick scan of the link you provided, the majority are related to production which is only a crime because cannabis is illegal. Of the violent crimes with links to cannabis, the majority also mention other drugs and dealing. There will of course be some people who like both a drink and some pot (and who knows what else) and who behave violently towards others but I wouldn't class that as being the fault of cannabis.

I call bullshit therefore.

The majority of cannabis smokers are more likely to chill than their alcohol drinking brethren. That's from 20 years of personal experience.

Still, you're an AC and quite probably trolling for all I know.

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Re: Crime rates

Besides the fact that a third of people imprisoned are so because of simple marijuana possession, there are the network effects of criminalization including violence that we acknowledged when we decriminalized alcohol in the US. If it isn't illegal you don't have to kill or hurt people over disclosing your involvement in it, nor policemen arresting you for it. If local grow is legal, importation issues like mules are completely gone. We really do get to let go of half of our court cases and jail populations, with a concurrent savings in cost. And the decrease in street violence is just a fringe benefit.

The cost is that more people will sit on their couch eating Hot Pockets and drinking Mountain Dew while they play XBox, torching a bowl now and then. I'm OK with that. I don't have to pay for that.

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Re: Crime rates

Given the rates of marijuana smoking and voilent crime amongst NBA players, you need to prove this to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Disingenuous

Criminals currently stealing Apple kit would simply be stealing something else.

If we remove Mercedes and BMWs from statistics, car theft will go down too. Genius.

It's scary that politicians who say these things go unchallenged these days.

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Re: Disingenuous

Maybe, maybe not.

Some might be poor kids stealing from rich kids so they can have cool phones too. If all stolen phones don't work...

Some might just be opportunists making some easy cash, if there is nothing else as tempting being waved around in the air.

Might even switch to selling drugs or something else.

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Re: Disingenuous

I thought that the Honda Civic was the 'most stolen car'?

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Re: Disingenuous

It was the "most stolen palindromic car", certainly.

Mainly because the Civic can be easily and most lucratively stripped for parts. Honda is the company that uses the most parts interchangeable between models, and since the Civic is the cheapest and least likely to be alarmed/guarded/etc, it's higher reward for lower risk.

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Anonymous Coward

Will they ban iProducts or will they require a license to buy them? Then only criminals will have them though.

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FAIL

This seems to point to being the fault of the iCultists rather than Apple if you ask me. Seems they are more prone to getting their kit stolen - probably due to flashing their expensive fashion accessories...err...mobile phones in places or at times they shouldn't suggesting they are less savvy and lacking common sense....they did buy Apple after all!

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps it's because they actually use them for more than calls and texts as most Android users seem to do. You would probably find the theft rate (as a percentage) quite high amongst high end Android handsets but because there are so many cheap (default option when renewing contract) phones it blurs the stats.

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WTF?

"If you just took away the jump in Apple, we'd be down for the year,"

Of course! Because those thieves would simply disappear off the streets and become priests and social workers if we "removed" a large chunk of the overall statistics.

Whilst Apple products are (probably) targeted because they're quick movers and have good 2nd hand resale, people aren't stealing them *because* they're Apple products, they're stealing because those products allow thieves to make a quick profit. Remove the apple products and it'd be whatever other product had taken their place as the "in" thing that was being stolen.

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Freakonomics

When it comes to NYC crime rates, I particularly enjoyed Levitt's alternative perspective on the influencing factors as opposed to conventional wizdom.

That said, for all the cynicism that Levitt instilled in me, he is just another economist.

There are lies, damn lies and statistics.

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Anonymous Coward

More proof

This is clear proof that everyone in New York City is clueless including the Apple fanbois.

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Unhappy

Just PROOF that criminals have BAD TASTE

or that iThingy owners 'lost' them so they can buy the latest version.

If the Fanbois wouldn't waltz around the streets with their latest Apple bling, th thefts might decrease. I saw a subway train rider neatly deprived of his goodies. One ne'er do well blocked the doors as they were closing and his buddy snatched the tablet from behind the user and both escaped with the train leaving th station!

The cellco's are likely not bothered about copying the Europlan of blocking lost/stolen handsets as it means more business for them.

Look at the cost of SIMs in North America - it costs me less than a dollar to get a new SIM and (optionally) change my number here in VietNam. The difference is we have government regulations that stop exploitation - and handsets/cell phones have to be sold unlocked.

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Re: Just PROOF that criminals have BAD TASTE

"If the Fanbois wouldn't waltz around the streets with their latest Apple bling, th thefts might decrease"

I'm sorry, JaitcH but that's terrible logic. It's the "if she didn't go around looking so pretty, she wouldn't have been raped [so it was really her own fault]" argument. Nobody 'deserves' to be a victim of crime.

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Joke

Poor fanbois

Robbed twice!

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Thumb Up

The Good with the Bad

At least this is positive news for Apple;

They are still seen as a positive brand for Nu Yoikers, even if they are of a criminal persuasion.

And sales will be up, because most of those devices will be replaced with Apple devices.

One question though;

Does Apple ban stolen devices from iTunes, or can they also continue to profit there too?

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WTF?

I really want to make a snarky comment about apple users here, but I cant. I'm just too overwhelmed with Michael "Blame the Victim" Bloomberg.

WTF NYC?

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Mayor too busy as a dictator

New York is a place where the mayor likes to control everything. It is illegal to sell a soda larger than 16oz. Drones fly in certain areas (The Bronx) looking inside windows. You can get arrested if aspirin is found in your pocket (categorized as unidentified white substance). The police have been caught on camera doing all manner of heinous acts with no consequences.

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