Solid proof that the end of Stop and Frisk has not, in fact, immediately sent New York spiraling into a new era of 1970’s-style violent crime and decay: the NYPD is focusing considerable time and effort keeping an eye out for everyone’s iPhones.
Which they’ve already been doing for a while with their “Don’t play dumb with your smartphone” campaigns, but now that iOS7 (and its major new security update) has hit the market they’ve been ramping up efforts, passing out fliers outside Apple and Best Buy that read, “By downloading the new operating system, should your device get lost or stolen, it cannot be reprogrammed without an Apple ID or password.”
This is all in reference to the new Activation Lock feature, which it makes it impossible to disable, say, the “Find My iPhone” app without the owner’s Apple ID and password. The police department also wants people to register their smartphones with the Community Affairs Bureau (and to continue not stupidly waving your expensive phone around in public), all in hopes of ending what they’re calling a “global epidemic of smartphone theft.”
“The widespread use of this new system will end the victimization of iPhone users, as thieves learn that the devices have no value on the secondary market,” State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and San Francisco DA George Gascón said in a joint statement about Apple’s new security features.
All of which seems good, even if “global epidemic” is maybe a bit of a strong term for a problem a highly limited, privileged subset of the earth’s population will actually find themselves facing down. Still, if this is what New York cops are getting truly worried about in 2013, we’re probably doing pretty well for ourselves.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.