updated 12:30 pm EDT, Mon April 29, 2013
San Francisco pursues 'fear and distrust' strategy
The San Francisco Police Department is pursuing a "fear and distrust" strategy in an attempt to wreck the city's black market for mobile devices, particularly iPhones, the Huffington Post writes. Sting operations are targeting both the buyers and sellers of stolen devices, the idea being to deter people from going the illegal route. The SFPD has reportedly had help from Apple, which loaned a collection of iPhones that were then sold by undercover police officers.
The SFPD program has come under some criticism for its efficiency and its legality; some people have suggested the department is engaging in entrapment. Mobile device thefts are a major problem in San Francisco, with smartphone robberies accounting for nearly half of all thefts. The iPhone is an unusually important target in that regard due to its cost, and its popularity, which is especially high in San Francisco because of the city's tech-heavy industry and the presence of Apple's global headquarters in Cupertino.
Another region with high iPhone thefts is New York City. There the NYPD has conducted sting operations of its own, and tried to educate the public on protecting itself against snatch-and-grab robberies in the street and on subways.