iPod Thieves on the Rise in RP

Apr. 20, 2006

iPods, Apples trendy MP3 players, are now beginning to attract attention from thieves in Metro Manila. iPods have been available in the Philippines for almost five years, but they only became a middle-class fetish object during the past two years. The signature white headphones are now an increasingly common sight on public transport and in the streets, particularly in the business district of Makati City.

iPods may now be joining wallets and mobile phones as attractive targets for thieves and pickpockets. One Makati City office worker lost his iPod on Metro Manilas crowded light rail system when he bent over to pick up a watch that a female passenger had dropped near him. When he stood up and the crowd had dispersed, he noticed that his iPod was missing from his front pants pocket and the headphones were still dangling from his ears. Pickpockets in the Philippines commonly work in teams, with one member tasked to drop something in front of the target to distract him/her while a partner swoops in to take valuables.

There is no sign yet that stolen iPods are being sold on the scale of cellular phones, which are cheap and easy to buy on the black market in the Philippines. And iPod theft in Metro Manila is nowhere near as common as it appear to be in big cities in the West. Still, clients are reminded to add iPods to their list of valuables that they keep a close eye on in public. If you choose to walk in public while listening to your iPod, try the following common-sense security tips:

Avoid flashing your iPod in public. Keep the main device well concealed in a bag or in the pocket of your clothing closest to your body. Consider investing in a remote control that attaches to your headset and allows you to adjust the music without taking the device out of your bag or pocket. People who do not use bags or wear clothing with pockets may wish to consider wearing the smaller and lighter-weight iPod models on a lanyard around the neck and tucking the main device inside a shirt or jacket.

Keep the volume as low as you possibly can when in public so you do not miss safety and security cues in your environment. Consider replacing the white iPod headphones with something more discreet. (Pacific Strategies & Assessments)

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