Monday, February 23, 2009

Hot product

Officer Vicki Bourg, the school resource officer at Northstar High School, is growing tired of the number of iPods being reported stolen by high school students. We discussed this trend at last week’s ACUDAT meeting, and it’s pretty obvious that the Apple iPod is a hot product for thieves at the moment.

In 2008, we had 242 burglaries or thefts where iPods were among the stolen goods. This list of iPods reported stolen in the past 120 days is not complete—it’s only those for which we had a serial number or other identifying mark.

A decade ago, Dr. Ronald Clarke coined the acronym CRAVED to describe hot products that are common targets for crime: Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, Disposable. The iPod fits the bill perfectly. The same characteristics that make it a desirable consumer products also make it a likely target for thieves.

Vicki should take heart in the knowledge that hot products inevitably come and go. A few years ago, it seemed like virtually every larceny from auto and residential burglary involved the theft of a case-full of CDs. That has dropped way off now—only 140 burglaries and thefts listed CDs in 2008. Hot products in my rookie year would have included things like 8-track tapes and CB radios!

Reducing the theft of iPods or any other hot product is usually a matter of working on the Ducks.


ARRRRG!!!! said...

I hope no one steals my iPod.

Grundle King said...

And to think...when I was in school, you weren't allowed to have any electronic devices in your possession except for a calculator.

How many of these thefts could be prevented if the kids were made to leave these devices at home? In turn, how much police time would be saved?

Anonymous said...

Even if 99% of Lincoln's population exercised sensible caution in their daily activities, that still leaves around 2,500 condition-white wannabe-victims walking around effectively trying to enable a crime, every single day. A lot of them are the kind that could not envision the merit in keeping their hands up, until they get a straight right in the nose - and sometimes not even then.

I think a far greater problem than making one's media player an easy target is making one's purse or pocketbook an easy target. If your purse is too big to carry with you at all times, then it's just too big! If it gets ripped off, your life will be turned upside-down; scan the daily incident summaries for all the forged checks that businesses report to LPD almost constantly - most of those come from purse thefts. Get a bar-hopper wallet or a neck wallet, and leave your too-big-to-carry purse at home.

In any case, never leave anything (including a purse) visible through the windows of your parked car, even if the doors are locked, and you're only running in the store "for a minute". never leave your purse in a shopping cart or on a counter "just for a moment", or in an unlocked locker. You don't need to be an upscale bag-lady with half of your material possessions in that weekender bag you call a purse. It's just dumb.

Oh, and if I see many more theft of vehicles that were unlocked, running, and with the keys in the ignition, I'll need to wrap duct tape around my head to keep it from exploding.

Anonymous said...
The news of the blog was a good red.

M Roselius said...

With the threshold for felony theft being pretty low at $300 - when you "solve" one of these thefts - are you able to charge them with a felony? How often is that plea bargained away to a misdemeanor? (I know that's out of your control)

While the price of iPods has dropped below the $300 mark - at $1 a song - the content on the device quickly becomes worth more than the iPod itself.

Just wondering if the deterrent effect of jail time for this type of a theft is allowed to run it's course.

Tom Casady said...

M Roselius-

The threshold for a felony is $500, not $300. It's always difficult, because the law is not specific as to whether the basis for the value of the thing stolen is retail, wholesale, replacement, fair market value. It has been my career-long experience that it is difficult to get felony charges filed on theft cases unless the dollar loss is quite large--way over the threshold, and that even then, plea bargains to misdemeanors in felony theft cases are common.

Anonymous said...

My junior high/high school self would hate this comment, but I think the schools shouldn't allow kids to bring their IPODS in to school. Darn technology is making those "CRAVED" items so much smaller and easier to steal! Back in the day, it would have been alot harder for someone to take my skip-resistant, bass-bosting portable CD player and my CD collection from my backpack without me noticing. :)

Anonymous said...

I can only afford a cheap MP3 player but it still holds a lot of music. How can these kids all have they have jobs?