The problem is so big in the city that it’s gotten the attention of the New York Police Department, which has created a team to work with Apple to retrieve stolen devices.
“We’re looking for ways to find individuals who have stolen Apple products and return the products to their original owners. It is being done to learn the pattern who is stealing,” an NYPD spokesperson told the New York Post.
While Apple already offers its Find My iPhone app to help owners track lost devices, knowing where your device has wound up isn’t particularly helpful if there’s no safe way of getting it back. Hence why the NYPD’s involvement is so important.
The most common theft tactic on subways is to snatch devices away from oblivious owners right before the subway doors close. It’s simple, effective, and, unless the would-be victim has Spider-Man’s reflexes or Superman’s grip, almost completely foolproof. (The video below shows how it’s done in Hungary, but you get the idea.) I’ve seen this method in action first-hand, and I can confirm that the victim never stood a chance.
Anyway, my advice is this: Either keep your iPhone in your pocket, or be better about securing it from bad guys.