That Apple iPhones and iPads lead the smartphone and tablet industry is an understatement. In New York City, thieves seemed to have developed a predilection for Apple products specifically, as confirmed by New York Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. In response to the spike in Apple-product thefts, NYPD has launched a team solely to solve the city’s “Apple-picking” problem.
The smartphone and tablet squad attempts to recover stolen Apple products by first getting the serial number of the device. The team then reports it to Apple who will then inform the police squad once the device has been activated with the issuance of subpoenas, of course. Fortunately, the tech giant is cooperating with the force though the company has refused to offer a statement regarding the matter. There are times when the trail leads to the thief but there are also innocent victims who unknowingly purchase or own stolen property.
Last year, the overall crime rate in the city saw an increase of 3%, most of which are Apple theft-related cases. Browne went so much as saying that a decrease in thefts of Apple devices could have resulted in an overall decrease in NYC crimes. After a year of working on the cases, the team discovered that most pilfered Apple units typically stay within the city, about 75% of the cases they currently have on file. And even if the units are taken out of NYC, they’re still most likely to be inside the state. The squad hasn’t revealed how successful their attempts are to curb the city’s ‘apple-picking’ issue though there have been cases where the units were returned to the rightful owners.
The team unintentionally spends most of its time chasing stolen Apple products though they don’t focus all their attention to stolen units just from the tech mogul. It seems to be the natural consequence given the popularity of the high-end phones and tablets. To date, voluntary efforts are being made to “help law enforcement deter smartphone theft.” The trade association of the wireless industry has recently drafted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, discussing the creation of a database where stolen smartphones can be reported, barring the service and network in the United States so thieves won’t be able to access the devices. The database is set to be available later this year.