As New Yorkers hit the streets with their new iPhone 5s, the NYPD is warning about the increase in Apple thefts.
Data shows that between January 1 and September 23 of this year, incidents involving stolen Apple products increased 40 percent over the period from last year, exceeding the overall increase in crime. In total, there were 11,447 incidents.
Along with reminding the public to be more cautious and aware of their surroundings when carrying electronic devices, the NYPD is now registering them free of charge.
On Friday, September 21, the day the iPhone 5 went on sale, the NYPD registered and engraved the new phones at 21 stores where they were being sold, free of charge. Anyone can also bring their devices to a local police station and have them engraved with a unique serial number.
Though engraving enables the NYPD to trace and indentify stolen property more easily, a better solution may be to give cell phones International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers, so when a device is stolen, cell phone stores can permanently disable them, rendering them worthless.
This April, Senator Chuck Schumer and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that major U.S. cell phone carriers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed to set up an integrated database of IMEI numbers.
But, according to the NYPD, iPhones and iPads are not part of this agreement.
A public service announcement reminding people to be aware of their surroundings when carrying electronic devices on the subway. (Video courtesy of the NYPD)