Fashionable, expensive and, one presumes, easy to sell. While crime, including violent crime, has been falling across the US for years, one category remains stubbornly resilient in New York City, grand larceny. Specifically, the Big Apple crime is increasingly about the theft of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

“It’s easy pickings,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired New York Police Department detective, told the Wall Street Journal.

Why easy? Apple’s instantly recognizable iPhones and iPads are everywhere in New York City. And, when people are using them, they tend to be oblivious to their surroundings.

Again, while Big Apple crime continues to trend lower, the other Apple crime — grand theft iPhone continues to rise.


Interestingly, Apple crime first appeared on police radar back in 2005, the year the iPod became a cultural icon. With the introduction of the iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010), the trend has only gained strength.

Apple Crime: No Time at All

The old adage “commit the crime, do the time” does not apply to Apple crime. While stealing an iPhone or iPad constitutes grand theft larceny, it’s usually classed as a fourth degree offense. That, according to New York City police officials, means that most of the people caught never see in the inside of a prison cell.

That said, police and officials don’t seem to be interested in incarcerating iPhone thieves. Actually, their emphasis has been on prevention — law enforcement officials have pushed Apple and other smartphone makers to build anti-theft technologies into their devices.

Further, NYC police launched a public campaign that encourages iPhone and iPad owners to protect themselves by registering their devices with police and enabling Apple’s Find My iPhone device recovery feature.

Lastly, while it might be tempting to think Apple crime is just an American phenomenon, it’s not — grand theft iPhone is an international and problem that’s only growing.

So, while it clearly sucks to be an Apple crime victim, iPhone thieves get a slap on the wrist…

Where’s the justice in that?

Image: Digital Trends