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Fighting the iCrime Wave 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the there's-an-app-for-that dept.
theodp writes "'What's the point of a mobile device,' asks WSJ reporter and iPad-beatdown-victim Rolfe Winkler, 'if people don't feel safe using it while they're mobile?' A lucrative secondhand market for today's electronics devices — a used iPad or iPhone can fetch $400+ — has produced an explosion in 'Apple picking' by thieves. So, how big is the iCrime wave? In New York City alone, there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011 — 81% involving mobile phones — according to an internal NYPD document. And plenty of the crimes are violent. The best way to deter theft is to reduce the value of stolen device — the wireless industry is moving to adopt a national registry that would deny service to such devices. A remote kill switch has been discussed as another approach. For its part, Apple says the company 'has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices,' although some are unimpressed."
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Fighting the iCrime Wave

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  • by Shavano (2541114) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @01:55PM (#40802595)

    It's simple enough for carries to identify what a phone's IMEI is and not allow it on their network if it's reported lost or stolen. That would stop most cell phone theft.

  • Re:It's only stuff (Score:5, Informative)

    by rtp (49744) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:34PM (#40803509) Homepage

    The most effective deterrent to high-stakes crime is when victims are their own defense. More people should carry handguns, and the laws should be relatively straightforward for any lawful adult to own and concealed-carry a handgun. Muggings for pocket cash, phones, sneakers and logo jackets occur because the risk to thugs is near zero in cities where the government makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens to carry.

    This logic - let the thugs take your stuff, "it's only stuff", is a prey mentality. We aren't sheep. nor ants. People must stick up for themselves, defend each other, and protect that which you worked hard to obtain. Simply letting the bullies take your stuff is a slippery slope to freezing in the cold while the grasshoppers party in your house through the winter. Have some self-respect, and draw the line. Don't let yourself be kicked around. Don't stomp on others, but definitely kick back hard if somebody stomps on you.

    The government continues to want us to believe that "they" (the government) will protect us. The truth is, the police are more of a clean-up crew than a protective force.

    Kill switches on iPads and iPhones may appear to negate the value of the device (while the muggings won't stop, they'll still jack you up for a wallet, watch, or Nike sneakers), but it opens the door to abuse where a cyber attack on the control system could render our legitimate mobile devices useless. Rather than try and reduce the value of our property, let's protect ourselves properly and reduce the overall operating risk of living in cities.

    Crime can't be reduced to zero, but the "professional criminal" who has opted to pursue a living in crime (because the risk-reward ratio shows that crime does pay better than a minimum-wage job, especially in cities where victims aren't allowed to defend themselves with guns) will likely reconsider their career choice when the risk-reward ratio includes risking their own death or a murder charge in trade for a few hundred dollars. When it's simply "not worth it", most criminals move on to a different pursuit for sustenance. The sociopaths and mentally warped human monsters that prey upon us are statistically rare, but the common street thug who is stealing an iPad will become less common if you raise the difficulty above that of a legitimate job. These people often follow the path of least resistance. If we're making it too easy to be a criminal, you can't expect anything different than increased crime. If you make it much more dangerous to be a criminal, there will be less criminals.

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @04:51PM (#40803583) Homepage Journal
    20k mobile phone robberies. A hundred thousand cell phone robberies per year in 1993 seems a little hard to fathom. Although you're right that crime rates are going down [disastercenter.com].
  • Re:Can... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dan541 (1032000) on Saturday July 28, 2012 @10:36PM (#40805125) Homepage

    Just block the IMEI number. It's been a legal requirement in Australia for decades.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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