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Cellphones Crime Handhelds Apple

Bloomberg: Steve Jobs Behind NYC Crime Wave 311

theodp writes "Rudy Giuliani had John Gotti to worry about; Mike Bloomberg has Steve Jobs. Despite all-time lows for the city in homicides and shootings, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said overall crime in New York City was up 3.3% in 2012 due to iPhone, iPad and other Apple device thefts, which have increased by 3,890 this year. 'If you just took away the jump in Apple, we'd be down for the year,' explained Marc La Vorgna, the mayor's press secretary. 'The proliferation of people carrying expensive devices around is so great,' La Vorgna added. 'It's something that's never had to be dealt with before.' Bloomberg also took to the radio, urging New Yorkers who didn't want to become a crime statistic to keep their iDevices in an interior, hard-to-reach pocket: 'Put it in a pocket in sort of a more body-fitting, tighter clothes, that you can feel if it was — if somebody put their hand in your pocket, not just an outside coat pocket.' But it seems the best way to fight the iCrime Wave might be to slash the $699 price of an iPhone (unactivated), which costs an estimated $207 to make. The U.S. phone subsidy model reportedly adds $400+ to the price of an iPhone. So, is offering unlocked alternatives at much more reasonable prices than an iPhone — like the $299 Nexus 4, for starters — the real key to taking a bite out of cellphone crime? After all, didn't dramatic price cuts pretty much kill car stereo theft?"
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Bloomberg: Steve Jobs Behind NYC Crime Wave

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  • by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @07:59PM (#42422905) Homepage Journal

    I imagine that most people (such as myself) don't carry any significant quantity of cash on them anymore since most every Retailer and Restaurant will take a Visa Debit card issued from your bank.

    So it only makes sense to go after iPhones and iPads since going after someone's wallet will typically net you $60 or less, while you can offload that shiny iGadget for a couple hundred.

    If it weren't iDevices, it'd be something else.
    The real culprit here is a profound culture shift from cash based shopping to electronic payments.

  • by TwineLogic ( 1679802 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:14PM (#42422989)
    Is tracking software -- the kind users install named "Find My iPhone" or "Find My Android." In anticipation of the day when their device may be stolen or lost.

    Here in Seattle, WA, the police are also responding to a great surge in these theft calls. The reason is simple: if they do not respond, the owner might take the law into his or her own hands (or the hands of their posse, in some cases). The police would rather intervene and not have people get into such risky situations.

    Otherwise, the usual response to property crime of such a low value would be to take a report and move on. A detective would not be assigned to a lost $600 item. A recovery would not occur. The stolen item would be gone.

    With owner-installed Find My [Property] using GPS + Cloud applications, law enforcement is being moved into a citizen-responsive mode. The "dispatching detectives" are the citizen running a web app, reporting the location of the stolen item. The radio transmission relays some information along the lines of, "victim has tracked the item to a particular building and believes he can hear it ringing upon his command." And the police units are on the way post haste to intervene on that potential scenario.

    The same is happening with Android, but to a reduced extent. Some cheap-o Android devices are no doubt not tracked. Possibly the user experience for person who lose their smart phone is discrepant between platforms.

    At least one moving "stolen" phone I heard a report of turned out to be in the back seat of a taxi. That is where it had been lost the night before. There were multiple police chasing the location reports around while the citizen in the GPS-web loop called the moves... Eventually the taxi they were following became apparent and the case was solved.

    Meanwhile, if I lost a Fluke Scopemeter (hypothetical possession; please send me one), I would be out a $2400 portable meter. It does not have a Find My Flukemeter that I could otherwise use to pursue asset using dynamics.

    If the robbery was an armed robbery and the victim can identify the suspect later, the police are proactive in using the same tracking software to collar the perpetrator for the major crime.
  • Re:The real issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:29PM (#42423067)

    Does that imply the $699 unlocked price of the Samsung SIII isn't a high amount since thieves mostly target the iPhone?

    I hope not. The variable being ignored is brand recognition. You're going to have an easier time and probably ultimately make more money off of selling Toyota Corollas on the black market than you are PT Cruisers, simply because more people in the area tend to buy Corollas than PT Cruisers. In the US, it's fairly safe to assume that the iPhone has the brand recognition over the SIII, so it's a safer bet to sell iPhones on the black market than SIIIs. That seems to be a shrinking gap between the two, but it is still there in the US.

    BradleyUffner is partially right, though, in that there's not going to be as much demand to pay $400 on the black market what you can buy for similar or less legally. There'll still be some black market present probably, no matter the cost you lower it to, but the lower the price, the less attractive the black market alternative is going to be. Also, at a certain point, when its easier to get it legally and price is no longer an issue, there's probably going to be less people interested in the alternative deal that the black market will present to them.

  • Re:The real issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:53PM (#42423233)

    Although one has to wonder how big the market for iPhones really is. It's not the like the vast majority of consumers aren't stuck paying one of the big carriers for a monthly sub anyway, and for them how much cheaper is a stolen iPhone than the carrier price anyway?

    But then with phones it's a little easier. The EU has been working on this, stolen phones should be blacklisted from carriers. If you can't resell them, what is the point of stealing them? There is still the overseas market but it eliminates a lot of the casual disorganized piracy, and the EU and US databases should be able to talk to each other.

When a fellow says, "It ain't the money but the principle of the thing," it's the money. -- Kim Hubbard