Grand Theft iPhone

Cory Bortnicker  Jun 24, 2009 10:30 am

Grand Theft iPhone
Apple's holy grail sparks uptick in crime.

Since it was first introduced, criminologists have been quick to blame the iPod for spikes in crime. The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan economic and social policy research group, published a report claiming that “the rise in violent offending and the explosion in the sales of iPods and other portable media devices is more than coincidental.”

The authors draw a parallel between iPods and other consumer products that engender increased violence. According to the report:

"Past crime waves are thought to have occurred in a similar way—triggered by the introduction of a new high-status and expensive product. For instance, in the 1980s and 1990s, the proliferation of such valuable products as expensive Nike (NKE) basketball shoes or North Face jackets may have led to new crimes…

"By contrast, iPods are everywhere, and, unlike a jacket or a sneaker, one size fits all.

Of course, blaming Apple for the nation’s uptick in crime -- rather than, say, growing economic inequality -- is pretty convenient.

But there’s no denying that what makes Apple products so hot in stores is exactly what makes them so hot on the street.

"A kid taking out an iPhone and using it is waving around $300," a New York City cop told the Daily News.

It’s not, however, all bad news for iPhone users. Unlike your gold bracelet or your car, the iPhone is intrinsically traceable. After one victim had his truck stolen, he informed police that his iPhone was inside. A day later, he received a call from police informing him that the truck had been located.

“I asked them if they checked to see if my iPhone was still in the truck,” the victim writes.

“They said, ‘How do you think we found your truck?'"
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Cory Bortnicker is an Editor at Minyanville Publishing & Multimedia, LLC.

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