NYPD creates task force specifically for stolen iPhones and iPads
If you’re looking to get your iPhone or iPad stolen, all you have to do is wave it around on a New York subway. The theft of these high-cost mobile devices has skyrocketed in the Big Apple, and now the NYPD are responding with a new special task force. Yes, there is now a team of NYC police that specifically track down stolen iDevices. Lost your Android phone? Keep walking.
When a phone is reported stolen, the police will ask the victim for the device’s International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) in the case of iPhones and 3G/4G iPads. This data is then passed along to Apple, which can report to the police the exact location of the device — even if it has been moved to a different carrier.
The police will then actually go and find the missing phone or tablet. Tracking WiFi-only iPads is considerable more difficult because they do not have GPS or an IMEI number tracked by carriers. Still, it’s interesting to see the police taking such an interest in recovering stolen gadgets.
According to the cops, this new initiative is not just about returning stolen devices to their owners, but to learn about the patterns of theft in New York. Often tracking down a single stolen device leads to much more stolen property.
A database for phones went live last last year, allowing carriers to block stolen devices via the IEMI number. There is not currently a unified system for tracking those devices, but integrating with law enforcement is another matter entirely. The police usually have more pressing matters to attend to — it’s just the volume of thefts in New York that led to the creation of this task force.