NEW YORK CITY, NY (CBS/WCBS) -- Take any phone, not just iPhone, to police precinct they will engrave it with special serial number starting with letters NYC.
iPhones, iPods, and iPads are hotter than ever on the black market. Police say thieves in New York City are targeting Apple products more than any other gadget. Kevin Barber says, "My girlfriend had her phone stolen about a month ago right out of her hands when she was texting someone."
Krizia Figueroa says, "Some guy on the 6 train tried to take my phone."
Since the beginning of the year, nearly 12,000 Apple products have been stolen; an increase of 40-percent over last year. Police say the trend mirrors the marketplace where Apple is king of the gadgets. And note, anything with an "i" attached goes for hundreds of dollars online and overseas.
Christina Gemdjian says, "I've been told multiple times by policemen to put it away, put it in my bag, not walk around with it."
To combat an increase in overall crime, police launched a series of public service video announcements alerting the public to popular tactics used by thieves like grabbing phones and tablets from those closest to subway doors.
And to coincide with the release of the newest iPhone, police are also jump-starting a program called Operation ID where New Yorkers can register their phones and serial numbers enabling them to be more easily tracked if they're stolen. Figueroa says, "I don't take it out as often as I did."