Technology used to stop crime: Don’t buy a looted iPhone, it will never work; and other cases

Unlike Android, Apple has figured out a way to discourage people from stealing iPhones.

As the number of iPhones stolen in looting increases, thieves are going to try selling them — but Apple has disabled all of them.

There is a reason professional thieves steal iPhones from people far less than before, and even more reason why they rarely take demo units from Apple Stores. They know that Apple Store demo iPhones will not work for the end-user.

While opportunists are using the current protest marches as a chance to loot and raid Apple Stores, they are finding that they cannot do anything with the iPhones they grab off those tables.

For the last full decade, Apple has locked these demo units down so efficiently that the thief can only make any money by selling people iPhones sight-unseen by mail or pretending it needs charging in a face-to-face transaction, or breaking it up for parts. . . .

William Gallagher, “Don’t buy a looted iPhone, it will never work,” Apple Insider, June 3, 2020.

Man arrested because he “liked” the “most wanted” poster on Facebook

Apparently a Montana man didn’t realize that his IP address allowed him to be tracked down after he liked the “most wanted” poster on Facebook:

A man featured on the Cascade County Crime Stoppers Facebook page as an April “most wanted” suspect and who apparently “liked” the Internet post appeared in court Monday on a $2,500 warrant.Levi Charles Reardon, 23, was arrested Friday evening without incident, according to police records. The records indicate he had two warrants for his arrest.Reardon made an initial court appearance for felony forgery (common scheme). His arraignment is scheduled for May 7. . . . .

“Man ‘likes’ his own most wanted post,” Great Falls Tribune, April 27, 2015.

Since Apple’s “Activation Lock” debuted, thefts of iPhones has gone done even while thefts of Android phones has increased

It is possible that some of the thieves have switched from iPhones to Samsung devices.  Of course, it is possible that cell phone thefts were increasing generally and that the ability to lock the iPhones caused their thefts to decline.  From a report by the San Francisco District Attorney:

. . . In New York City, thefts of iPhones fell significantly after release of Apple’s Activation Lock. In the first five months of 2014, just after Apple introduced Activation Lock, robberies and grandlarcenies from a person involving Apple products dropped, respectively, by 19 percent and 29 percent, compared to the same time period in the previous year. This is shown in the chart below. The decrease in Apple thefts far surpassed the overall decrease in robberies (-10%) and grand larcenies from a person (-18%). Perhaps most tellingly, both robberies and grand larcenies from a person involving a Samsung smartphone, another popular device, increased by over 40 percent compared to the first five months of 2013.

Crime data from San Francisco and London show that the introduction of Activation Lock likewise corresponded with a decline in iPhone thefts and an increase in thefts of other devices in those cities as well. As reflected in the Chart below, iPhone robberies in San Francisco declined 38 percent, while robberies of Samsung devices increased 12 percent in the six months after Activation Lock compared to the six months prior to Activation Lock. In London, Apple thefts declined by 24 percent, while Samsung thefts increased by three percent in the same time period. . . .

Office of the New York State Attorney General, “Secure our Smartphones,” New York State Attorney General, 2014

How to put an end to joy rides by parking valets: “New Corvette will record every move a valet driver makes”

This is one tempting car to drive.  But valets aren’t going to be taking any joy rides with these Corvettes.  From the LA Times:

Attention valet drivers: Don’t get frisky with the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette — big brother is watching. General Motors is offering next year’s model of the famous sport coupe with a data recorder that captures video, audio and driving data from the vehicle when switched into a special “Valet Mode.”

The Vette’s owner can come back from dinner and check out if the valet was testing the sports car’s 3.8 second zero to 60 mph time. The car will have recorded data such as speed, engine RPM, which gears have been used and the highest level of g-force incurred on that joy ride to the parking garage. . . .

A video of driving hanky panky will be captured by a high-definition camera, which records the driver’s point-of-view through the windshield. Audio of any other hanky panky will be caught by a microphone in the cabin. It all can be viewed or heard instantly on the Corvette’s 8-inch color touchscreen when the car is parked, or downloaded to a computer. . . .

Jerry Hirsch, “New Corvette will record every move a valet driver makes,” Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2014.

Child’s iPod helps track down her kidnappers

It seems that it would have been easy to stop the tracking down of the iPod, but fortunately, the kidnappers didn’t understand that.  That said, one wonders whether the publicity on these cases will make it harder to catch future criminals.  From Fox News:

The story of a 12-year-old girl’s kidnapping fuels concerns about the dangers of the Internet—even as it demonstrates how today’s devices can come to the rescue, Ars Technica reports.

The Baltimore-area girl, identified in court as Jane Doe, communicated with several men via Xbox Live and social media. Earlier this month, she went missing, and a few days later, Microsoft produced a chilling transcript from one of her conversations with another contact, in which she said she was “going to live with some guy.” She typed: “Im scared he said he was gonna kidnap me.” After she was found, she said she had been raped twice.

Jane Doe’s iPod Touch helped investigators track her down via what police called “digital forensics,” officials said, as the Perry Hall Patch reports. Apple told authorities where the iPod had been used recently, including at a home in North Carolina.

Further investigation there directed searchers to another home, where they found the girl a few days after she’d gone missing. Now, Victor Yanez Arroyo, 32, has been charged with kidnapping and rape, among other charges. . . .

The post Technology used to stop crime: Don’t buy a looted iPhone, it will never work; and other cases appeared first on Crime Prevention Research Center.

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