Hunger for iPhones drove a 12.7 percent increase in violent crime in Denver last year, the Denver Post reports. Street stickups in particular were the source of a 23 percent jump in robberies in 2011 from the year before, an increase so stark that detectives wanted a closer look. They found that of the 1,143 robberies reported in 2011 — up from 926 the year before — 83 were street robberies either committed by juveniles or in pursuit of coveted iPhones. “We had a couple of groups that were victimizing people,” said Denver data analysis unit director Chris Wyckoff. “We have arrested some people in the groups, but there are others out there.”
For the fifth straight year, violent crime reports in the U.S. fell by 3.8 percent. Denver logged spikes in nearly every major crime category. The steepest increase was in robbery, which often carries a city’s overall violent-crime rate. Other large cities have had similar problems. In Los Angeles police have warned of “Apple picking,” in which young bandits identify potential victims by looking for white earbuds. They ask the unsuspecting people if they can borrow their phones and then make off with them. Robbers use the same technique in Denver, Wyckoff said.