Can we please stop shooting at people, locking down schools, and chasing suspects for a stupid phone?

Can we please stop shooting at people, locking down schools, and chasing suspects for a stupid phone?

Summary: As a smartphone enthusiast, I spend a LOT of money on phones, but understand it isn't worth risking a life just to recover a $500 to $800 phone. Should police pursue suspects actively to recover a stolen iPhone?

TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iPhone
Can we please stop shooting at people, locking down schools, and chasing suspects for a stupid phone?

As a smartphone enthusiast who purchases a LOT of phones at full retail price and have a daughter starting college soon I completely understand the value of a smartphone. However, is the recovery of an iPhone, or other smartphone, really worth having police actively pursue suspects and open fire? The latest story of a pursuit in San Francisco is pretty scary to me and I have to wonder if it is really worth it to recover a lost or stolen iPhone.

iPhone crime is reportedly on the rise in San Francisco and New York and in this latest case an officer ended up firing on a suspect and a school was locked down as the chase continued and actually resulted in apprehension of a ring of criminals who had stolen other property. I understand that our phones are valuable to most of us, but we have to remember it is JUST a phone and can be wiped with Find My Phone without the need for active pursuit. I know my own life is too valuable, and too many others rely on me to be alive, to chase down criminals to recover a stolen phone and I will never pursue someone if my phones are stolen.

Earlier this month we followed the story of David Pogue's stolen iPhone and I have to say I personally think it was a waste of Maryland police time and effort to actively pursue the theft of this iPhone. Folks, it is just a phone and we shouldn't be risking the lives of our public servants or wasting the time and money of police to chase down a stupid lost or stolen phone. I am worried by these stories and would like to see police establish a policy that pursuit does not get initiated because someone reported a stolen phone. I get upset with thieves stealing things and like that you can wipe your phone. Shoot, the ability to find your Windows Phone for free on Windows Live has been invaluable for my wife who always misplaces her phone, but if we discovered it was not around the house and was stolen there is no way in the world I am going into a shady neighborhood of unknown origin to hunt down a stupid phone.

Do you think police and phone owners should pursue suspects with these new phone tracking technologies?

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone

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  • But there was gun...

    Maybe you missed the part of the story where the victim was robbed AT GUNPOINT!

    More and more smart phone robberies involve deadly weapons. The police's job is to not only solve theft-of-property crimes but ALSO to protect the general public from thieves who are willing to injure or kill.

    As the story resolved is is possible that these thieves were using "simulated guns" (whatever that means). However, when faced with a reportedly armed suspect, the officer is expected to return fire BEFORE they are killed themselves.
    • The offenders were armed robbers!

      What a stupid article.
    • What gun??

      In Matt's link David says he was either pickpockted or he set it down. What source do you site for armed robbery?
      • Nevermind!

        I confused the two incidents.
  • Gun culture to blame

    Looking at earlier comment it looks like this is related to gun culture in US. In UK we do not see that many gun related issues compare to US where it is a norm for thieves and police both. In UK, people are not allowed to get a gun (no licenses are issued); police is also not normally allowed to carry gun.

    On the other hand police must pursue the thieves wherever possible because criminals start their career as petty thief and progress through the ladder.
    • This has nothing to do with "gun culture"...

      The reason I say that is because a criminal by definition does not care about the laws so what would gun control really do? Especially since they are already on the streets. All gun control laws would do is hamper the citizens who are permitted to carry a gun.
    • If you make owning a gun a criminal

      Then the only one that have guns will be the criminals. Then the average citizen will be at a bigger disadvantage.
      Troll Hunter J
      • firearms don't make you safe

        On the contrary, when so many persons can own machine guns and war weapons, the whole society is at risk ; in our old Europe, criminality exists, even violent criminality with heavy weapons, but such weapons are illegal and it's a crime to own them : thus, we have much less violent crimes and much less casualties.
        The right to be armed has an historical explanation in North America, since the American revolution and the conquest of the West, but it is not justified nowadays under the complete rule of law; Canada understood that and "enjoy" a rate of criminality comparable with Western Europe. Only hunting weapons should be authorized, with an efficient control of their use, to avoid their anarchic dissemination.
        • Keep your pathetic gun-control drivel at home

          It doesnt belong here.
  • NC: if you tolerate this ...

    your children will be next.
  • Come on Matthew!

    Your slant on this article is a bit invalidated due to facts you neglected to include in your article but were included in the first paragraph of the article you linked to - the phone was stolen during an armed robbery which is a felony offense. Police used the stolen phone to track down the thieves and were able to recover not only the phone but items stolen in earlier robberies and got 5 armed thugs off of the streets... at least temporarily.

    Now if this was an issue of a phone stolen by someone who picked a pocket and the victims took it upon themselves to pursue the thieves and the thieves were packing and a firefight broke out then yes I'd see your point - but that is not what happened in this case or in the case of David Pouge's phone.
  • Your missing the point, Matthew

    It is not about an iPhone, or a few bucks, or whatever. It is about wrongdoing. If there is no check on this kind of people and actions, it will be later about your car, or your home. Stealing is stealing. Being it only an iPhone or intellectual property (I'm with Samsung here), it is still stealing and something must be done or else it would get worse. This are my 2 cents.
  • Law enforcement decision

    I completly agree you shouldn't drive into a strange nieborhood looking for your stolen phone. The question of the police pursuing criminals is another question completely. When a crime is reported the police should use their judgment on how to pursue the information they are given. This is not a guarentee of the best outcome, but law enforcement faced with new types of crimes and new types of data are the best equiped to figure out the correct balance.
    I am sure the professional involved in the incident you describe are thinking hard about what they might do differently.
    Obviously public reaction to these things will also be part of the mix. Your comments make a good point, but you have to realize it is more complicated than one persons stolen phone.
  • New Headline

    ZD Net Writer Looks Stupid

    While I agree that chasing down and endangering...well, anyone over a cellphone is stupid. Chasing down and possibly using force in the apprehension of armed robbery suspects is what I expect from my Police force. What is stolen is immaterial. Armed robbery is the deciding factor. I applaud the police for using the cellphone to track the suspects. Again, what is stolen is unimportant beside the need to get violent criminals behind bars.

    I expect a retraction of this offensive article. I have generally been a fan of Matthew's articles, but he dropped the ball on this one and showed that he does not understand journalism. Very unprofessional.
    • I wonder if the blog Author's Anti Apple Bias

      Got in the way or writing an objective article? From the article he linked to
      "They recovered the stolen iPhone, two replica firearms and property from an earlier robbery, police said. The registration of the car led officers to a residence on Seventh Avenue, where they detained two additional suspects at about 8 a.m."

      Read more:

      Whether the firearms were real, or replicas, the intent was to convince the victims they were indeed real. Which indicated the robbers were using the threat of deadly force.
      Troll Hunter J
  • Maybe we should have covers that make them look like Nokia Lumia phones.

    Then no one will want to steal them, as Nokia can't give them away lol.
    Troll Hunter J
  • Where do we draw the line

    I think that every crime should be adressed. All to often it starts with a little thing and ends eventually with people getting beaten, shot or worse. If these criminals feel they can get away with that, where will they stop? I do not support taking revenge or vigilantes, but when does it all end? I do agree that it is only a phone, but....

    And who are these people; the bully that took your lunchmoney...?
  • Armed Robery.. Concelled Weapons -

    Mabye this is a victimless crime? No point for the above article, with the exectipion of wasting time on what was a wasted opportunity
  • I call BS

    You're a retarded rich and careless guy if you can easily accept your life being threatened over a phone, loosing the phone and just buying a new one without letting authority know.
  • Ignorant POV

    Your article just fueled the anger I have for ignorant media and journalist who only like to write nonsense articles and try to sway the below average readers to their side.

    Yes, guns should be fired, people should be shot if its an armed robbery and the thieves are concealing a weapon. The police has every right to their own safety and life as much as a person waking down the street has to his/her phone he/she paid for with their own hardworking money!