NY Daily News Names iPod as Public Enemy Number One

The NY Daily News, typically a reserved publication, occasionally mirrors its more sensational counterpart, famously known for its eye-catching headlines. However, recent reports from the News have adopted a slightly alarmist tone, particularly concerning the dangers associated with owning an iPod. The backdrop for these concerns is a tragic incident from 2005 in New York City, where a Brooklyn teenager was fatally attacked over his iPod.

Since that incident, there has been a concerted effort by the NYPD and transit authorities to curb such thefts, yet recent developments suggest that the problem may be worsening. According to the News, new FBI statistics suggest a surge in iPod-related robberies, some of which have been deadly, as highlighted in their article titled “Apple’s iPod blamed for nationwide crime rise.”

Further examination reveals that the FBI itself hasn’t directly linked iPods with an increase in crime. Instead, this assertion comes from two researchers at the Urban Institute who have interpreted FBI data to show an uptick in robberies (involving theft and intimidation) even as overall thefts have declined since 2005—a year significant for the iPod’s burgeoning popularity.

The researchers noted a significant indicator: juvenile robbery arrests increased by 18% last year following a 44% decrease over the previous decade. They argue, “With people carrying less cash due to debit cards and the waning of large jewelry as a popular accessory, iPods remain one of the few valuable items commonly carried by individuals, which may explain the spike in robberies.” More insights can be found in the detailed report available on the Urban Institute’s website, and for a critical analysis of the FBI’s overall crime statistics, the Freakonomics blog offers an in-depth look. The Urban Institute’s report suggests that while the data may not conclusively prove a direct correlation, it strongly implicates the iPod in the rise of these crimes, recommending increased situational awareness and enhanced tracking features for iPods to help mitigate this issue.


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