‘Apple picking’ on the rise, UD police talk preventative measures
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
When sophomore Michael D’Amico turned his back last July outside of Jastak-Burgess Hall, he discovered that his phone was missing. Thanks to his “Find My iPhone” application, he was able to track his phone to Durham, N.C.
“The phone was broken so the person who stole it tried to fix it at the Apple Store,” D’Amico said. “When they turned it on, the police were able to track it to the store.”
D’Amico was a victim of a new crime that has been termed “Apple picking,” where people have specifically been stealing iPhones from unsuspecting victims.
To combat the trend, the New York Police Department announced that it would be partnering with Apple to form a new squad dedicated to finding and recovering lost iPhones and iPads.
Despite this development and recent events, the university’s Police Services Commander Robert Simpson said phone theft is a relatively small problem on the university’s campus, however, there has been an increase in the past year, he said.
“In fall of 2012 there was an increase in phone theft, and most of these incidents occurred on the central green due to an open opportunity for the suspects to take the phones,” Simpson said.
Simpson said if a phone can be found using an app, it may lead to an arrest. However, the phone must be on the thief’s person for a police officer to take legal action.
Sophomore Keri Betters said she thinks the university is not doing enough to prevent theft and believes it would be helpful if the university police adopted a similar policy to the NYPD’s.
“I think it’s frustrating that we don’t have a lot of theft prevention at the university,” Betters said. “It is becoming such a problem, especially recently, that I think spending the extra time and money to have the NYPD’s new iPhone unit would be extremely worth it.”
Betters said people use their cell phones and tablets more than ever for various tasks, and the new unit could prove to be beneficial.
“Nowadays we rely so heavily on our iPhones and iPads that they’re no longer just technological devices, but our calendars, social profiles, clocks, document organizer and email,” Betters said. “Because of this, so many people would benefit from the NYPD unit because it has become a serious need.”
Sophomore Patrick Crane, who is the Lead Product Specialist at the UD Apple Authorized Campus Store, said not many students know about the “Find My iPhone” app, and this lack of knowledge could lead to missing out on opportunities to retrieve their phones.
He said this app can send messages to your phone and play a sound at full volume even if the phone is on silent mode.
Crane also said there is a “lost mode” option on iPhones and iPads which can be turned on remotely. It displays contact information so someone can call the owner of the device and return it.
Crane said as a worst case scenario you can remotely wipe all personal information from the phone, but all these options can only work if the phone is turned on.
“Apple includes standard GPS radios in all of its iPhones, location accuracy is further refined by using cell-tower and Wi-Fi triangulation,” Crane said.
If you purchase a new iPhone from Apple, customers are offered the chance to purchase “AppleCare+”, which is Apple’s extended warranty for the iPhone, Crane said. This package costs $99 and will cover two incidents of accidental damage, including cracked screens.
In order to prevent theft, Officer Daniel Garibaldi of the university’s Public Safety department encourages students to be aware of their surroundings. He said when students are studying or staying in a common area, they should keep their phone and other belongings close by.
“When outside, be aware of your surroundings, walk in well lit areas, and be sure walk with a buddy or a friend,” Garibaldi said. “In areas that you’re not familiar with, it is okay to call someone, but be sure you are cognizant with where you are walking.”