updated 09:22 am EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Public transportation said to be major stalking ground
During 2013, Apple products represented about 18 percent of all grand larcenies in New York City, according to NYPD data obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Approximately 47,000 grand larcenies were recorded; of those, 8,465 involved Apple devices. A retired detective, Joseph Giacalone, comments that many of the thefts happen on the city's buses and subways, where people often become focused on their phones and tablets and don't pay attention to their surroundings. In the past, the NYPD has released promotional material pointing out how easy it is for someone to grab a smartphone and escape if a train is stopped at a station.
The department is encouraging people to set up Find My iPhone on iPhones and iPads. It's also offering a program in which people can register a device at a local precinct, which makes it easier for police to return stolen goods if they are retrieved.
In NYC, only about 20 percent of grand larceny reports translate into arrests. And of those charged, two-thirds either get the case dismissed or a plea bargain down to a lesser offense. Police complain that while many victims are willing to file reports, fewer are willing to be taken through mugbooks to try to identify culprits.
For some time, New York's attorney general was among parties pressuring Apple and other smartphone makers to implement better anti-theft measures. This may be the reason for Activation Lock, a feature introduced with iOS 7. If a device is stolen but remotely wiped, the thief can't reactivate it without the owner's Apple ID login.