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Did iPods lead to rise in crime rate?

I probably carry more electronic gadgets on me then most people. On a given night you'll likely find me with a Nintendo DS, a digital camera, a Treo cell phone and an iPod Nano. I figure I'd be a muggers dream, but so far nothing has happened to me.

 

That's why this article discussed in the Washington Post about a rise in crime rates being attributable to iPods caught my eye.

It's easy to see why iPods would be alluring targets for criminals: The music players are valuable and easy to resell, and people absorbed in their personal soundtracks can be vulnerably oblivious to their surroundings.

 

But could the temptation for stealing iPods be so strong that they're behind an increase in the crime rate? Researchers at a public policy institute say yes.

 

They argue that the tantalizing gadgets are perhaps the main reason U.S. violent crime rose in 2005 and 2006 after declining every year since 1991 _ although a close look at the findings suggests the hypothesis has holes.

 

 

 Holes in the hypothesis?

...But is it plausible that so many iPods and similar gadgets were stolen that they drove the rising robbery rate? That robbers would not have just stolen something else if not for shiny music players? This is where the iCrime Wave begins to seem less certain.

 

...homicides also increased in this same span, albeit slightly, from 5.5 per 100,000 people to 5.6 in 2005 and 5.7 in 2007. Since crime trends are often murky, whatever caused the bump in homicides might also explain the rise in robberies....

 

[Washington Post via The Daily Swarm]

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