Are Apple iPods responsible for violent iCrime wave?

“The Urban Institute, a research organization based in Washington, has released an interesting report that suggests that the proliferation of iPods helps account for the nationwide rise in violent crime in 2005 and 2006,” Sewell Chan blogs for The New York Times. “The report suggests that ‘the rise in violent offending and the explosion in the sales of iPods and other portable media devices is more than coincidental,’ and asks, rather provocatively, ‘Is There an iCrime Wave?'”

Chan reports, “The report notes that nationally, violent crime fell every year from 1993 to 2004, before rising in 2005 and 2006, just as ‘America’s streets filled with millions of people visibly wearing, and being distracted by, expensive electronic gear.'”

Chan reports, “Of course, as any social scientist will tell you, correlation and causation are not the same thing. The report’s authors, John Roman and Aaron Chalfin, acknowledge in the report that ‘rigorous empirical tests’ of any theory for the two-year-old rise in violent crime ‘are not possible.'”

Chan reports, “But they offer three tantalizing observations… [along with] four reasons iPod owners might be particularly susceptible to crime.”

Full article here.

The “Is There an iCrime Wave?” report itself (pdf) is here.

MacDailyNews Take: Rather than blaming an inanimate object, we blame the criminals’ parents (or lack thereof).

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “qka” for the heads up.]


  1. Maybe the iPods have legs, and during the night, when we sleep they are murdering people and stealing Microsoft Zunes!

    … To me that’s more believable then the dribble the idiot was talking about.

  2. This is a good report ruined by making it sound like it is an iPod-specific phenomenon. Sure, I bet a lot of the devices stolen were/are iPods, but I bet a whole lot more are other stuff that distracts the user’s attention such as laptops, palmtops, cellphones, digital caremas, cd players, portable dvd players, PVPs and other mp3 player brands players. If someone had said “SanDisk playes cause crimewave” no one would have listened.

    Good spin to get press coverage, shame it damages the integrity of the work. What WOULD be useful and iPod-specific is some statistics to show whether white earbuds attract thieves simply because they stand out more in the first place.

  3. Microsoft announces that it will campaign for international adoption of its products and the banning of all Apple products in order to see crime levels fall to zero.

    Let’s use any tool at our disposal to promote mediocre crap shall we.

  4. To counteract Apple’s iCrime wave of terror, MS released another load of crap few people want, but practically everyone already has. This resulted in a collective sigh and group nap.

    iCrime Wave averted, Apple. Your move!

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