You've heard it all before: iPods are high-theft items, and there has allegedly been an increase in crime as a result of the proliferation of our favorite white (or black… or aluminum anodized in our favorite colors) devices. But there hasn't been much data on the possible phenomenon, just anecdotal evidence and a few police reports here and there. The Urban Institute hopes to throw its own data into the mix, though, with a new report suggesting that rising crime rates may in fact be linked to iPods.
The Urban Institute says that iPods' "high value, visibility, and versatility make them 'criminogenic'—or 'crime-creating,' in the vocabulary of criminologists." Researchers John Roman and Aaron Chalfin say that robberies rose in both 2005 and 2006, while overall theft actually declined during the same time period. According to Roman and Chaflin, the iPod's popularity make it a "special target" for juvenile offenders. "Indeed youth robbery arrests jumped 11 percent in 2005 and 21 percent in 2006," they wrote.
The 15-page paper (PDF) goes on to mention that, during the first three months of 2005, major felonies in the NYC subways increased by 18 percent—excluding iPod and cell phone thefts, however, felonies actually declined by three percent. (Let's just pretend like we didn't see that "and cell phone" part, I guess?).
The authors admit, however, that the "iCrime wave" may wane due to the ever-increasing ubiquitousness of the iPod. "Many of those who covet one likely already have one," reads the research paper. The correlation between the two is certainly intriguing, but it will likely be hard for some to accept that the iPod may actually be the cause of such crime spikes. We'll let you be the judge on that one.