Lock Up Your Consoles

Videogame console thefts have risen dramatically over the years, according to data released by the FBI.

A USA Today story indicates that reported cases have risen 285% over three years, to a number of 42,615 such incidents in 2009. That number is even more astounding when factoring in that overall property crime numbers, which include theft of electronics, dropped from 10.0 million in 2006 to 9.8 million in 2008.

The FBI produced the numbers at the behest of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who wanted to see the data after complaints from constituents about electronic thefts.

Weiner’s take on the growing problem, “It’s the omnipresent, miniature electronics crime paradox: Even as crime goes down, when you have more electronics, you have more theft.”

Laptop computer thefts grew from 96,834 in 2007 to 128,280 in 2009, a gain of 32%. Cellphone snatches were down over the same period however, dropping 5% to over 106,000 stolen in 2009.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell Criminologist Larry Siegel added, “Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold.”

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