New York Police Chief Blames Crime Surge on Apple iPhones

Theft of Apple iPhones, iPods and other iDevices has helped drive the city's crime rate up four percent, says commissioner Ray Kelly.

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Yves Herman / Reuters

A customer holds up an Apple iPhone 5 (L) and iPhone 4s (R) during an exclusive sale.

Crime rates in New York City are on the rise — and you can blame Apple for that, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says.

In a talk delivered to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Tuesday in San Diego, reports The Telegraph, Kelly said that if not for folks lifting Apple products at an alarming rate—theft of Apple iPhones, iPads and laptops is up 40 percent at this point in 2012 versus 2011—overall crime in NYC would have fallen. But with Apple products included, the crime rate is up 4 percent.

(PHOTOS: How Workers Make iPhones and iPods)

So far this year 11,447 Apple products have been stolen in the Big Apple, and the highly touted release of the iPhone 5 has put the department on higher alert.

Kelly said that 21 police officers went to stores on the launch day to register serial numbers of new Apple products, and that he has put more uniformed patrols on the city’s subways — the most common location for Apple theft. At the same time, built-in GPS in Apple products and apps that help track the phones and iPods have helped find and identify the stolen merchandise.

(MORE: Dozens of NYC Gang Members Busted for Oversharing on Facebook)

Along with the revelations about Apple’s prevalence in street crime, technology will also prove critical in how the NYPD continues to fight crime, especially within gang circles. As part of “Operation Crew Cut,” Kelly has doubled the number of detectives in the gang division to 300, and they will now patrol social media websites to help gain information on everything from street robberies to violent crimes.

“Officers can adopt aliases for their online work, as long as these are registered with the department,” Kelly said. “They can also protect their anonymity by using department laptops with untraceable Internet cards. By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years.”

MORE: Don’t Post That: The Top 10 People Caught on Facebook

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2 comments
iambateman
iambateman

So it's the phone's fault. Right...

John Markovic
John Markovic

I suspect that the media may have taken license with Kelly's comment.  That said, small pocketable items with high $ value are strong incentives for crime. However, there are ways that the phone makers can allow phones to be remotely disabled by owners in ways that make them less attractive to steal. Car stereos in late model cars are now seldom stolen because one can no longer simply install it in another car. My understanding is that cell phone manufacturers and the wireless carrier have been reluctant to implement such a "target hardening" strategy.