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iPhone, iPad thefts jump 40 percent in NYC

Thefts of Apple iDevices in New York City have soared from last year, according to the latest stats from the New York City Police Department.

The Big Apple is seeing a surge in stolen Apple devices.

The latest data from the New York City Police Department shows that iPhone and iPad thefts have soared 40 percent this year so far, compared with the same period last year.

Between January 1 and September 23 of this year, a total of 11,447 cases of stolen iDevices were reported to the New York City police, a rise of 3,280 over 2011, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said in a report sent to CNET.

"As if to mirror the market place, thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers declined," Browne added in the report.

To help find mobile devices that are lost or stolen, the NYPD kicked off a new service last Friday dubbed "Operation ID."

Users can bring their iPhones and other mobile devices to any of the city's Apple stores as well as several Verizon and AT&T stores.

Police officers stationed at the stores can register the serial number of your device along with your name and contact information. Devices can also be engraved with a unique serial number to make them easier to identify if stolen. Last Friday, the NYPD registered 1,500 iPhone 5 handsets at 21 stores where they were sold, including the six Apple stores in the city, as well as seven Verizon and eight AT&T stores, according to Browne.

The NYPD's theft prevention form for mobile phone users.
The NYPD's theft prevention form for mobile phone users. Greg Sandoval/CNET

To deal with the rise in iPhone and iPad thefts, New York City police have been running sting operations to catch people fencing stolen devices. Acting as decoys, police officers have also been able to arrest iPhone thieves riding on the subway.

Apple offers its own "Find My iPhone" app that can track down lost or stolen devices. As part of Operation ID, officers have been handing out information on how to install and set up that app. And they've been tapping into other Apple technology.

Earlier this year, police officers with iCloud-enabled iPhones were able to track down stolen iPhones and arrest the thieves.

Ultimately, people should always be aware of their surroundings, especially when carrying an iPhone or other expensive device out in the open.

"Individuals alert to their surroundings are less likely to become victims of thefts of iPhones and other handheld devices," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement.

Update, 10:30 a.m.: Adds information directly from the NYPD.