iPods have been around since 2004. Crime has been going up in the US since 2004. Call me skeptical that there’s a connection. But it’s possible. Kids still occasionally kill each other over Air Jordans.
First, the recent increase in robbery has been disproportionately greater than increases in other economically motivated crimes, such as theft and burglary.
Second, the recent increase in robbery has been greatest among juvenile offenders, among whom iPods “are highly valued as a status symbol.”
Third, robberies increased in particular from 2004 to 2006, the very period when iPods entered the mass market and became ubiquitous among consumers.
The authors also offer four reasons iPod owners might be particularly susceptible to crime. First, iPods have “no easily accessible antitheft protection,” unlike, say, automobiles and laptop computers. Second, unlike cellphones, iPods do not require a subscription, so a robber can continue to use them even after a victim reports the theft. Third, iPods may be “stolen for their status,” and not merely as items to be resold. Finally, iPod users are likely to be more distracted and less aware of their surroundings. Add to that the fact that iPods are distinctive looking and typically worn in public places, the authors warn, and the result is that “the device is a lightning rod for criminals.”
If you’re in the habit of wearing your iPod, let’s be careful out there.