What happens when the latest iPhone is released? People clamor to get it. And some of those clamoring aren’t waiting outside of the Apple store, they are waiting for you to act nonchalant with your new purchase – if even for a second – so they can take it for themselves.
According to the Oregonian, gadget thefts on Portlands TriMet system have skyrocketed over the past several years and thieves are focusing on the flashiest gadgets and those people, you likely know some, who are too into their phone to realize someone is eyeing them and plotting a theft.
Last year alone, there was a 12% spike in thefts on TriMet trains and officials are blaming all of the high-tech gadgets and also their owners’ preoccupation.
About 70% of the serious crimes that occurred on TriMet trains were thefts. Since 2006, just before Apple released the first iconic iPhone, thefts on the rails have increased 65%, despite riders increasing only 5%.
The Oregonian compared the crime rates on TriMet with that of other large metropolitan subway systems and surprisingly found Portland’s rates to outpace other, larger cities.
TriMet found 4.9 serious crimes for every 1 million boardings in 2011. In Los Angeles, that number is only 2.55 crimes per 1 million boardings. Boston reported 2.9 crimes. While there can be differences in how the cities report these crimes, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department claims their reporting system is just like Portland’s.
Usually thieves will simply grab the device off the lap or out of the hands of the owner and run off as the doors are closing. Other times they will rob the owner, demanding they hand their phone over.
TriMet has started a campaign to encourage awareness among their patrons. When you are absorbed in a game of Words With Friends or checking Facebook, you might not notice the person plotting a theft.
“Too often, people aren’t being alert and watching their property. They make themselves easy prey for thieves,” says Transit Police Commander Mike Crebs.
Because these offenses happen so quickly, the thieves are rarely caught. But the city is seeing more plainclothes officers on the trains in an effort to dissuade and catch those who are suspected of taking gadgets.
Stealing an iPhone is much cheaper than purchasing one—as long as you don’t get caught. But if you are caught, you will face serious penalties.
If you are accused of a theft offense, contact us today to see how we might be able to help.