Owning an iPod can be dangerous?in more ways than one. Crime statistics released by the FBI show that violent crime increased in 2005 and 2006, and they think that thefts of iPods may have triggered the spike, since adolescents are most often the victims.

Their power to distract users gives thieves an advantage. The iPod’s popularity among young people may make it a special target for juvenile offenders, and indeed youth robbery arrests jumped 11% in 2005 and 21% in 2006. Adult robbery arrests rose only 1% in 2005 and 5% the following year.

In the first three months of 2005, major felonies rose 18% on New York City’s subways; but if iPod and cell phone thefts are excluded, felonies actually DECLINED by 3%. Thus, the Metropolitan Transit Authority now warns riders that “Earphones are a giveaway. Protect your device.” Similar signs appear on BART trains in San Francisco. In Washington, DC, in the first four months of 2007, robberies of iPods on the subway alone accounted for 4% of all robberies citywide, compared with well under 1% in 2005.

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