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UK Street Crime Rise Blamed on iPods 799 799

CNET reports that the British Government today attributed the country's 22% rise in street crime to iPod robberies. This has hit CNET close to home. Guy Cocker, a CNET (Gamespot) journalist based in London, was mugged last week. The muggers held 'a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head and told him, "we're taking all your stuff"'. CNET's solution to the problem is suggestions on how to conceal your iPod from attackers. These include 'The gaffer tape method,' 'The Coke can method,' and 'The Christopher Walken method.'
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UK Street Crime Rise Blamed on iPods

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  • by JamesP (688957) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:16AM (#15748874)
    wthout those baaad baaad guns this would have never happened!

    Oh wait...

    • by Steve Cox (207680) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:35AM (#15748968)
      In this particular case he didn't actually see a gun, he only thought it felt like a gun. Presumably there wasn't one involved because only a complete loon would chase after the muggers.

      The number of guns (and related crime) in the UK is steadily increasing year on year, however thankfully the numbers are still small. The lack of guns in the UK might go some way to explaining the fact that 'only' (ie still far too many) 46 gun related murders occured last year (that figure comes from the same report) in the whole of the UK.

      Steve.
      • by Azarael (896715) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:56AM (#15749085) Homepage
        That isn't bad, even in Canada where we are 100X less gun happy then in the US (I don't think I know any Canadians who own a pistol), there are close to 46 gun murders just in Toronto (100> murders altogether) per year. Law enforcement agencies seem to suggest that much of this is gang related though, I'm not sure how much of a problem that is in England.
        • by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:08AM (#15749158)
          Why is being murdered with a gun somehow worse than being murdered by having your brains smashed out of your skull with a blunt object? There are far more crimes committed with guns in the UK today than there were a century ago when anyone could buy a gun over the counter and anyone with ten shillings to spare could get a permit to carry one, no questions asked.

          The simple fact is that British people murder each other less than most other countries, regardless of what weapons are used. Guns are irrelevant.
          • by Ginger Unicorn (952287) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:18AM (#15749218)
            there were less people living here 100 years ago, and i would think the crime statistics figures from that period would have questionable reliability so you cant really make a sweeping statement like that. also different things were illegal then, so saying there are more crimes being comitted today might not be an indication of a more confident criminal, but perhaps there are more laws to break.

            plus, you can't hold up a bank with a blunt object, you cant kill people at (much of) a distance with a blunt object, and you cant take out a room full of unarmed people with a blunt object.

            if the american gun lobby is so sure that giving the general population guns will stop the government misbehaving, why isnt anyone storming the whitehouse with uzis, taking out the unelected emperor that stole control of their country 7 years ago?

            • by operagost (62405) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:51AM (#15749467) Homepage Journal
              if the american gun lobby is so sure that giving the general population guns will stop the government misbehaving, why isnt anyone storming the whitehouse with uzis, taking out the unelected emperor that stole control of their country 7 years ago?
              Because the average gun-owning American is better informed and more level headed than the average Slashdot troll.
              • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:32AM (#15750168)
                Because the average gun-owning American is better informed and more level headed than the average Slashdot troll.

                No, they are more easily controlled by their gov't, because as long as you give them their precious little guns, they will vote for you and not complain about anything else (mentioning God doesn't hurt either). One good troll deserves another.

                • No, they are more easily controlled by their gov't, because as long as you give them their precious little guns, they will vote for you and not complain about anything else (mentioning God doesn't hurt either). One good troll deserves another.

                  Can you tell me this party that you speak of? Cause I would like to vote for them! Both the Democrats and Republicans seem firmly commited to gun control.
              • by Lars T. (470328)
                Thinking you invaded Iraq because they were responsible for 9/11 doesn't make you better informed.
            • by Shakrai (717556)

              plus, you can't hold up a bank with a blunt object

              Really? I beg to differ. Have you ever been a bank teller? We were told to just give them the money regardless of what kind of weapon they had. Do you know how many banks are robbed with nothing more then a note saying "give me the money"?

              and you cant take out a room full of unarmed people with a blunt object.

              Seemed to work for the 9/11 hijackers. Granted, probably wouldn't work in the post 9/11 world, but the point is still valid. And what do y

          • This is why http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/12/26 /toronto-shooting-051226.html [www.cbc.ca] Convince me that this would have occurred if no guns were involved.
          • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @10:11AM (#15749623)
            The simple fact is that British people murder each other less than most other countries, regardless of what weapons are used. Guns are irrelevant

            Nonsense. Guns make it so easy to kill that any retard can do it. That's the ultimate problem. It's the same interface as a camera; point and click.

            To murder someone with a knife or club you have to:

            1. Have big balls
            2. Get close
            3. Be strong enough to actually do damage
            4. Get covered in your victims blood(!)

            Compare that to shooting someone in the back from 10 foot away. Very easy in comparison. That's why people who cannot fight for themselves love guns. They are the pussies weapon of choice. Mine? Check my username... ;-)

            In terms of damage, dying from a knife wound is rare. You generally need multiple wounds or a lucky shot to a key artery or nerve. For a club you need to literally cave in some part of their body. A gunshot on the other hand will easilly pass through the rib cage into a vital organ. Or get one in the head to almost guarantee a kill.

            America's specific problem is the glorification of them in popular media. Guns are cool apparently. Hell, I'm mostly a pacifist but I'd love to fire off a few rounds on a range if I'm ever stateside. Thanks Hollywood!!

            • by dark-br (473115) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:14PM (#15753754) Homepage
              Glesga Kiss is a Glasgow slang for headbutt, also known as glasgow kiss ;)

  • Needs more bell...
  • Oh I see (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Carthag (643047) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:17AM (#15748889) Homepage
    So it's our jobs' fault for giving us money that can be stolen?

    The fault of car makers that cars get stolen?

    I'm a bit confused.
  • Blaming the iPod? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blcamp (211756) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:18AM (#15748891) Homepage

    Really, now... is this the fault of the iPod and not the punk-ass thugs doing this crap?

    • It's not so much the fault of the iPod, but rather the iPod's distinctive white headphones. If you're walking around with black headphones then chances are that you haven't got an iPod but rather some poor quality* DAP which isn't worth trying to steal.

      Either that or you're listening to music on your phone and then you'd get mugged for that anyway...

      * Personally I use an iRiver with Rockbox
    • by MrSquirrel (976630)
      Charles Bronson will take out that trash (if only he were still alive). If you've never seen the Death Wish series, do yourself a favor and watch them. Then go out and kick some scum-bag butt. Or at least think about it, because it's the thought that counts.

      These criminals aren't too bright (then again, what criminals are). If I was going to rob someone using a gun (weapon charges tacked on to robbery in the states make it a much bigger offense - not too sure what the UK is like regarding that) I woul
    • by phlegmofdiscontent (459470) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:20AM (#15749227)
      It's kind of like blaming a rape victim for wearing a low-cut blouse....
      • by Mr2001 (90979)
        There's a difference between assigning blame and looking for causes. Some of us Americans seem obsessed with finding one, and only one, person at fault for any misfortune, but that's not how the world works.

        If you're walking down a dark alley and you get mugged, of course it's the mugger's fault - but it is really a good idea to go walking down dark alleys? If you were the victim, would you say "Gosh, I had no idea it might be unsafe to walk there" and then go on to walk down the same alley the next day? I
  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:18AM (#15748892)
    Replace the earplugs with ones with black cables.
    • or buy an iRiver :)
    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:42AM (#15749007)
      Now there's an interesting question there - is the rise in iPod thefts due to the fact that iPods, associated with white earbuds, are more popular and hence worth stealing? Or is it simply because the white earbuds are more visible at night, thus making their owner a more obvious target?
      • Now there's an interesting question there - is the rise in iPod thefts due to the fact that iPods, associated with white earbuds, are more popular and hence worth stealing? Or is it simply because the white earbuds are more visible at night, thus making their owner a more obvious target?

        Neither. This all stems from a report from the UK government about street crime. Nowhere is "iPod" mentioned. It does mention an increase in high-value items being an invitation for muggers, specifically "mp3 players and m

  • Magnets?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Alicat1194 (970019) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:20AM (#15748893)
    From TFA The Coke can method Get a Coke can, drink the contents, rinse out the can. Carefully cut the lid section off the can. Superglue a small magnet to the inside of the upper lip of the can so that it's flush with the open top of the can.

    a) Aluminium isn't magnetic, it wouldn't hold the can closed

    b) Is it really that good an idea to have a magnet that close to your ipod?

  • by Paperghost (942699) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:20AM (#15748894)
    I was hoping it'd show you how to dance like a maniac then fly off into the sky :(
  • Here's a thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrXym (126579) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:20AM (#15748896)
    How about walking around without listening to music the whole time?
  • Then no one would want to steal them anymore. Also, does anyone find it mildly amusing that the example they give of an Ipod theft involves a cellphone and not an Ipod.
  • 22%?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Proud like a god (656928) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:21AM (#15748903) Homepage
    98,204 - 90,747 = 7,457 More

    7,457 / 90,747 = 8.2% Rise from the original level

    22%? WTF?
  • by fuyu-no-neko (839858) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:21AM (#15748904)
    As far as I can tell, a big part of the reason for having an iPod is meant to be because it looks stylish. Basically, the whole point is for it to be seen. If you're going to start trying to disguise your iPod, wouldn't it be a better option to just get a cheaper and/or better music player from another company?
  • So who is to blame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406)
    According to the article, the cause of street crime is 1) High tech gadgets like Ipods and phones. 2) Social conditions leading to poverty. shouldn't the criminals figure in these somewhere?
  • Weapon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:21AM (#15748907) Homepage Journal

    Summary:

    The muggers held 'a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head

    TFA:

    His assailants held what felt like a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head

    For all I know an opened glass coke bottle feels exactly like a semi-automatic weapon when it is pressed into the back of a persons head. The words felt like make all the difference.

    • It's VERY hard to get a handgun into that country, I'm 9/10 sure it wasn't real. A kids cap gun feels like a semiautomatic handgun if a scary street prerson shoves you backwards against a wall and puts in to your head without you seeing.
    • by ElephanTS (624421) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:51AM (#15749060)
      As a Londoner I'm pretty sure there was no gun involved. This guy was the victim of the classic 'banana in the small of the back' scam as portrayed in so many movies. It can be scary if the guy looks mad enough. Happened to me once, 5 years ago and I never saw the gun - just a 6'4 crackhead. In the end I just walked away with half of me just waiting to be shot in the back. It didn't happen fortunately.

      As someone else said, if you've got a real gun in London you're not jacking iPods with it - you're doing something a little larger in scope. However, I'm not sure that this isn't changing with some younger people - gun crime is certainly increasing.
  • Just don't wear those white earbuds and I probably ... I mean, they probably won't notice that you have iPods.
  • by jonv (2423)
    Did this happen with the Sony Walkman in the 80s ? On the daily commute it seems everyone has an iPod - was it the same with the Walkman ?
    • was it the same with the Walkman ?

      Perhaps not walking around. The walkman wasn't that portable. But a lot of people used them in the car or at home.

  • robberies across the UK have risen 22 per cent in the last year, from 90,747 to 98,204

    Wow... Some how a increase 7457 robberies over the previous year's 90747 total is 22 percent???

    I guess the muggers have been stealing people's math skills too....

    [For the numerically challenged, the stated figures represent less than a 10% increase, not a 22% increase.]
  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:25AM (#15748926) Homepage
    TFA misses out on the interesting bit of the article:

    "His assailants held what felt like a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head"

    Wow, he can differentiate a semi-automatic from a nonautomatic from an automatic, just based on how it presses against the back of his head.

    Note how the Slashdot summary changes things:

    "The muggers held 'a semi-automatic weapon to the back of Cocker's head"
  • The Coke can method
    Get a Coke can, drink the contents, rinse out the can. Carefully cut the lid section off the can. Superglue a small magnet to the inside of the upper lip of the can so that it's flush with the open top of the can. Place the iPod inside and put the lid on the can. If you've cut the can correctly, the magnet should hold the lid tightly shut. Unless your mugger is exceptionally thirsty, they're unlikely to steal your Coke. Anti-mugger rating: 9/10

    Oh too bad, I was going to do this but the on

  • by igb (28052) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:41AM (#15748998)
    just as the `mobile phone theft' epidemic was bogus. Reports of the theft of phones rose. But thefts of phones as reported via the British Crime Survey (which interviews a large number of people and asks them what crimes they've experienced) showed essentially no such rise. Conclusion? People who had lost their phone (often not insured, and if you're a child, liable to piss off your parents) or wanted a new one (clearly not insured) were reporting them stolen. Result? A massive rise in reported crime. But when you interview people in a survey, who at that point have no incentive to over-report, the `crime' goes away. It's like the purported rate of burglary (as seen through reported crime) doesn't match the surveyed results: because the police are unlikely to turn up and do a forensic job over the tidy break in that did no damage and just took some consumer durables, it's safe to report even if it didn't happen. Insurance fraud is the crime that even the middle-classes think is victimless.

    ian

  • by countach (534280) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:41AM (#15749003)
    "he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide somethin'"

    I give up. Where??
  • by SpiralSpirit (874918) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:44AM (#15749018)
    Do you blame car thefts on the awesomeness of a car? How about rape on the attractiveness of the victim? Why then would you blame ipods for getting stolen? Blame the criminals.
  • Ipod ppffft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Soupy69 (988115) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:44AM (#15749021)
    See in Scotland we dont have Ipods yet, but ukele and banjo crime has gone through the roof
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:45AM (#15749028)
    Is all this crime the result of shiny inanimate objects or really stupid policies [city-journal.org]?

    One favorite paragraph:
    It is not difficult to guess the reason for the senior policeman's anger. My wife had forced his men to record a crime that they had no intention whatever of even trying to solve (though, with due expedition, it was eminently soluble), and this record in turn meant the introduction of an unwanted breath of reality into the bogus statistics, the manufacture of which is now every British senior policeman's principal task--with the sole exception of enforcing the dictates of political correctness, thereby to head off the criticism levied at them for many decades by the liberal Left--not always without an element of justification. Proving their purity of heart is now more important to them than securing the safety of our streets: and thus Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

    Also, nice to see that gun control laws work the way we Second Amendment supporters said they would.
  • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @08:48AM (#15749042)

    Here are some of the recomendations from TFA:

    1. Don't wear earbuds, headphones, or use any attachment that might make sound incase a mugger in close proximity detects it
    2. Avoid dressing in black and dancing like a zombie in public [youtube.com]
    3. Be prepared to one-up your semi-automatic carrying attacker [youtube.com] at all times
    4. Wear not one, but an array of bullet proof iPods [businessweek.com] to form a bullet proof iPod vest
    5. Ensure that, for your own safety, your government is monitoring your phone calls. In a post-911 world we must all take additional steps to ensure the iTerrorist threat is neutralized

    If, after following all of the above guidelines, your iPod should happen to be stolen, contact the RIAA as quickly as possible and inform them of all the illegal music you have stored on it, then wait for them to subpeona your assailiant and recover your costs in an out of court settlement.

  • Missed the obvious (Score:3, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {esidarap.cram}> on Thursday July 20, 2006 @09:07AM (#15749152) Homepage Journal

    Why didn't they mention two most important steps you can take to prevent this kind of thing:

    • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Your music is great, but it should never make you oblivious, and it should never be high enough in volume that you can't hear people (or traffic) around you in a potentially unsafe situation. (i.e., not at home/office)
    • Don't look like a victim. It's amazing how many would-be criminals are put off by the simple fact that someone's head is up and their eyes are alert. There are many easier-looking targets for them.
    Those two simple things are the first things you will learn in any self-defense class.
  • They key to this problem is the mugger can pick out the people with iPods from across the street, because of the super-visible white earbuds. He *knows* this guy has at least one thing valuable, so the mugging risk is worth it.

    If the person has a cord going from a set of *black* earbuds to a device in their pocket, it could be an iPod, or a $4.95 FM radio - so he's less likely to take his chances.

    Buy a set of decent black or grey earbuds and ditch the trendy iPod ones. It's like wearing a bullseye on your jacket.
  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Thursday July 20, 2006 @11:46AM (#15750280) Journal
    The bit about restructuring society so these things don't happen made me laugh. I live in a fairly nice neighborhood where people leave their front doors unlocked and garage doors open all day. Sometimes somebody will steal something but it's so rare it's not an issue for most people around here.

      Fifteen years ago, a neighbor murdered his wife during a divorce proceeding. Hard to see how you restructure rage and jealousy out of society. Around the same time there was a 5 year old kid who was uncontrollable. The kid had a sibling who was fine but this kid was trouble at any gathering. You could feel sympathy for the parents because you could see them doing what any of us would have done and nothing worked with this kid. At 20, he's in jail for invading someone's home and pistol whipping the occupant. He had a sidekick, also from this neighborhood, who isn't very bright. He's in jail as well.

    I just don't see how anyone could have done anything for that pair - some genetic combinations just don't work very well. They'll spring up in both bad and good neighborhoods. No matter how you structure a society, there'll be people that are not a good fit for that society.

There is no opinion so absurd that some philosopher will not express it. -- Marcus Tullius Cicero, "Ad familiares"

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