Law and Order

NYPD Thinks Having Your iPhone’s Serial Number Is Going to Reduce Robberies

Doesn't help if you lose it in a cab.
Hard to steal. (Photo: Apple)

Hard to steal. (Photo: Apple)ipho

Some owners of the new iPhone might have to add another step in their post-purchase ritual of opening the box, popping it into a new case and walking away. The New York Police Department is going to register serial numbers from new iPhones as part of the state’s recent crackdown on preventing phone thefts.

The Huffington Post reports that dozens of officers will be dispatched to AT&T, Apple and Best Buy stores starting tomorrow to enforce its “Operation ID” initiative. It’s a log of iPhone owner’s information, including the serial number, so if you’re one of the unlucky ones to get your device snatched, the NYPD can help return it to you. Or add to the hysteria that new iPhone is part of the government’s way to track you, whichever.

“Operation ID” started last year, when the iPhone 5 was released. Police noticed that robbers are throttling back on thefts in anticipation of the release date for new models. (Even pickpockets don’t want your crappy old iPhone 4). The program also hopes to decrease the city’s crime rate of robberies, which increased in 2012.

Also, those with older models of the iPhone are being urged by the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to upgrade to iOS7. He’s a big fan of the system’s Activation Lock anti-theft feature that makes phones inoperable if a robber turns off the “Find My iPhone” app.

He said it’s “an important first step towards ending the global epidemic of smartphone theft,” in a joint statement with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. However, the duo are less optimistic about the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint sensors, since the fancy new devices will obviously still tempt thieves.

We should just go back to using our Nokia fliphones, huh?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com