Researchers at The Urban Institute, a Washington think tank, say that iPods are the reason U.S. violent crime rose in 2005 and 2006.
A key point in the Urban Institute’s argument is that robberies _ the taking of something by force or the threat of it _ had seen dramatic reductions since the 1990s, but jumped in 2005 and 2006. FBI statistics show the robbery rate went from 137 per 100,000 people in 2004 to 141 per 100,000 in 2005 and 149 in 2006. That helped boost the overall rate of violent crime in those years, even as rape rates fell and aggravated assault was generally flat. During those years, iPods were going mainstream. In late 2004, Apple had sold about 5 million iPods. By the end of 2005 that had ballooned to 42 million, and in 2006 the number neared 90 million I’m so glad the reporter explained what a robbery is. I was starting to get confused.
The alleged ipso facto is that the iPod and other expensive electronic gewgaws are highly desired, easy to steal and easy to re-sell. The Institute — certainly not fishing for some free PR — has dubbed this phenomenon “The iCrime Wave.”
Thankfully the reporter pokes a few holes in this theory:
- While iPod thefts on subways and other crowded urban settings provide the best anecdotal evidence, the 2005-06 crime increases were highest in small and midsized cities _ places with less-dense pedestrian traffic, let alone teeming subways.
- Some stolen iPods might fall into the category of larceny _ a theft without force, such as when something is filched from a backpack _ and larcenies dropped in ’05 and ’06.
Marketing tip to the Urban Institute — naming anything the iSomething is beyond over.