iPhone and other electronics theft now tops the list of types of crime occurring on the New York City subway system. Almost half of all felonies reported on the NYC underground involve theft of an electronic device.
Back in the 1970s, the faltering NYC subway system was considered so unsafe that many people refused to ride it, especially at night. The outer surface of subway cars was riddled with graffiti on top of graffiti, and passengers feared for not only their belongings but also their lives when simply intending to travel crosstown.
When the financial boom of the '80s kicked in, the city itself regained its financial footing, and much attention was paid to the ailing underground train system. More cops were employed, trains were cleaned up and the subway, like the streets, was considered much safer for all. Still, no one back then was comfortable enough to flash their valuables on board, because that would just attract attention and invite theft.
Now, the rare subway rider without an iPhone or other electronic device is looked at a bit sideways, with others wondering why they would just sit there when they can read, text, listen, play, watch or do whatever myriad of activities a smartphone user does with their device. No one really worries that they are standing out or inviting theft because everyone else is doing it, too. People are forgetting, however, that those little electronic devices are valuable pieces of equipment worth hundreds of dollars.
As a result, theft of electronic devices like iPhones is up to half of all felonies on the NYC subway system, more than five times the nine percent total it held in 2009. Part of it is due to perceived safety on the trains.
NYPD Transit Bureau Chief Joseph Fox says, "We are happy that people are so comfortable to pull out their electronics, but we caution them to be careful with them," while MTA board member Allen Capelli cautioned that, "The system is so safe that they forget that there are still opportunists out there."
So, next time you break out your new iPhone 6s, Galaxy Note 5 or other smartphone on the A train, make sure you have a good grasp of not only your device but also of what is going on around you, especially when the train makes stops.