GadgetTrak Blog

Are Stolen iPods to Blame for Rising Crime? The Urban Institute Thinks So.
Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Urban Institute has released a report making a bold assertion that there is a direct co-relation between iPods and the recent jump of violent crimes in the United States. Now, as much as we would like to agree with the Urban Institute we found several flaws in their argument that we could not let pass, the primary on being that iPods are singled out.

In the report, it is stated that FBI statistics have shown an increase in violent crime from 2005-2006, this is true. Homicides and robberies are way up from the previous year, with a stronger focus on robberies. However they assert that the rise of theft is related to the sales of iPods and other removable media devices. This is difficult to prove as the national crime databases classify iPods and other media devices as “merchandise” so there is no data collected regarding specific models. In the report the quote “anecdotal evidence” however this comprises existing stories from the media, which at many times target iPods as they are the “Coke” of music players and so Apple is low hanging fruit. iPods may be part of the equation, but I think that the Urban Institute puts a little too much blame on iPods and is missing the forest for the trees.

The rapid sales of iPods and removable media devices are not an isolated pheonmena, but a tip of the iceberg reflecting a shift in our society. It does not take much research to see that our society is becoming more mobile, laptops outsell desktop systems, mobile phones and PDAs are computers themselves, not to mention our reliance on portable GPS systems, flash drives, portable game consoles such as the Sony PSP and the list goes on. Every day it seems we hear about another laptop theft, and our friends at have been telling us about law enforcement seeing a rising occurence of GPS devices being stolen from cars.

One could make a case that theft is actually the oldest profession; it will not go away and will evolve with technology. To fight the theft of mobile devices, we need to change our approach, the old model will no longer work in theft prevention. This is the prime reason that GadgetTrak was created, as an innovative way to utilize technology to protect our customers’ devices.

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