New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has publicly stated that part of the reasons for the increased crime rate in the city is due to pent up demands for the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. The city’s crime rate increased marginally this year.
The total increase in instances of major crimes was 3,484. The total increase in the theft of Apple products was 3890. The figures do appear to suggest that the entire margin could be accounted for in the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) margin. New York might be safer today if the iPhone never appeared in 2007.
This is not the first statement from New York officials that has blamed the slight increase in crime on the Cupertino tech behemoth. Earlier this week, the initial crime report from the city made the same conclusions, and they are backed up by statistics. Less avid fans of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products will be saddened to note that the City of New York does not keep track of Samsung Galaxy S III thefts.
In more wide sighted terms, the City of New York will this year record an increase in major crimes, but homicide levels will be at their lowest level since figures began to be collected in 1963. The city has undergone an unbelievable transformation. 2012 also contained a remarkable 24 hour period, on November 26, in which no violent crimes were committed.
The evidence behind the assertion that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products are responsible for the increase in crime rate is an example of statistics can be used to twist a news story, a political campaign, or a financial investment. The New York mayor is no doubt aware of this, his statement was, it is assumed, light of heart.
There is severe difficulty in addressing causality in statistical analysis. A famous question being whether or not smoking causes lung cancer or whether a third factor, some genetic mutation perhaps, increases the chances of both simultaneously. That problem, as the Surgeon General’s warning may have given away, has long been settled.
In this case, it is likely that a third factor is causing both the increase in overall crime and the increase in thefts of Apple products. Economic hardship being the most likely factor, theft is both an economic and a violent crime. Its motivation can be from one camp or the other.
It is however more fun to imagine a world in which Bloomberg is correct and try to reconstruct the reasons for that veracity, however spurious they might turn out. The following is an attempt to explain the rise in crime as a side effect of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) activities.
Divorced from branding iPhones and iPads, are low volume high value goods that people often carry with them, or leave exposed in their cars. Therefore they are easy to steal and profitable to sell. Perfect for any thief with an economic motive. They are the equivalent of watches, back when those were worn regularly.
Reinserting the company’s branding, the iconic Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products may even have a higher resale value on the black market due to their recognizable facades, and the quality that implies. Higher resale value means that a thief with the same risk reward setting will engage in riskier behavior to get their hands on one of the products.
That postulation would need to be borne out with some kind of fact, but if it rings true, it would almost certainly result in higher instances of Apple product thefts, greater in magnitude than the cannibalization of other thefts. This would cause a higher crime rate simply because of Apple’s successful marketing strategy.
It also means that should even 10% of those stolen from have their Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) product covered in an insurance policy, Apple will most likely see them purchase another Apple product with the claim proceeds. A higher theft rate of Apple products actually helps Apple, as long as nobody notices.