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Crave Talk: iPhone equals iMuggers' dream

The iPhone hits the UK later this year and everyone wants one. The only problem is that every thief is going to want one too -- it's probably going to be the most muggable gadget of 2008

Yesterday the Metropolitan Police published their annual crime figures, showing an overall reduction in crime in London. Interestingly, however, street robberies in the capital rose by 5.9 per cent last year, a figure that Commander Simon Foy, head of the Metropolitan Police Performance Directorate, puts down to an increase in portable commodities that are easily stolen.

Mobile phones and MP3 players are among the most attractive devices to muggers. In particular, Apple's iPod has been well known since its release in 2001 as a specific target for muggers, who see the white headphones as a clear sign that a person was carrying an iPod in their pocket.

This brings us to Apple's latest product the iPhone, described by Steve Jobs as a revolutionary product. And he's right. The Apple iPhone will trigger a revolution in street-crime convenience. It's a three-for-one deal: not only is it a mobile phone, it's also a cutting-edge video iPod and a Wi-Fi enabled Internet browser. The Met says that people are stealing mobile phones even if they are locked, so that they can access the other features, such as the camera and games. The highly functional iPhone couldn't fit more perfectly into a mugger's dream.

Imagine: you're walking down the street, you're listening to your favourite tunes on your iPhone and then you get a call. Fortunately, you don't have to do anything because the iPhone automatically cuts the music out and lets you answer. Unfortunately, a mugger clocks that you're talking to your white headphones -- unless he thinks you're mad, he'll figure out what's in your pocket.

At this point in the story the revolutionary, expensive device that you love becomes a homing beacon for the mugger and the rest of the story is more Italian Job than Steve Jobs. Cue iDepression at the sad loss of your mobile phone with all your contacts (and don't forget that could include your banking details too) as well as your MP3 player with all your music, pictures and videos.

One way to addres this problem is to follow our four methods for protecting your iPod. Most of these tips will apply to the iPhone, but the mobile phone functionality requires one more important tip: don't make or answer a call around strange-looking people. Which means in London you'll be mainly using it in private at home. And sometimes not even then. -AL