Tuck Your iPod When You Get On The Train
I remember when I got my first Walkman. It was a cheap knockoff GPX brand, it only had fast-forward, play and stop as buttons, and came with the cheap headphones. I rode the Broad Street Line in Philly to school most days and as most of us remember, during the '80s, when jobs were less plentiful, it was dangerous to have jewelry or portable electronics in sight. I knew that I was OK on the bus, but even then, my walkman, which was roughly the size of the Mac Mini was tucked neatly into my backpack, which was sitting on my lap with my arms on top. Even if I went to sleep, I always looped my arm through the straps so that I would be awakened if someone tried to snatch it away from me.
The roaring markets of the late '90s had a strong effect on crime, it reduced petty thefts. Since jobs were plentiful and there were many social programs designed to help those who may be more disposed to the belief that criminal activity was their only option for bettering their situation, these people started trying to get real jobs since it looked like it was possible to really make it big with a little knowledge and hard work. That is the American dream, and it really was true, but it is a little tougher to make it happen now.
With the collapse of the market, and the subsequent cancellation of those social programs, petty crime is on the rise again. One of the targets is unsuprisingly the iPod. When someone walks around with an object that is almost completely untrackable, easily identifiable, and can probably go for $200 bucks on the street, it is going to be a mark for theives.
I had one of the original Game Boys, this too was a hot item for thieves looking to get their hands on something they could turn around in a few minutes for cash. My solution was a simple one, I would only play my Game Boy where I knew it wouldn't be taken, this meant that I could play at school during lunch, or when I was at a friends house, but not on the bus or train. I kept my Game Boy inside an inner pocket on my huge winter coat so that no one could get it even if they took my backpack. They would instead just get my cheap walkman.
It is somewhat more difficult to conceal your posession of an iPod. The white headphones should be dropped almost immediately. If you are concerned with security, you can get a much better sounding pair that are black. Don't fiddle with your iPod while riding around. Let it continue on random, don't worry about moving tracks, volume, etc… while on trains.
Apple didn't do any favors with the design of the iPod, while it is a beautiful peice of engineering and design, the white and chrome is easily spotted even if held down low in the shadows. The iPod minis are no better.
But the bottom line is just to use some common sense, people steal stuff. This has been a truth forever. No matter where you are there is no need to be paranoid, just be aware of your surroundings. If you have to stand near the door, be aware of people around you, and if you have your iPod in your hand, tranfer it to an inner pocket. Most thieves will then skip you and find an easier mark.
The go-go nineties are gone, what we are left with is the reality of a world where jobs are sparse even for tech workers, and almost nil for the technically uninclined. With fewer and fewer options, crime is the result. It doesn't take a genious anthropologist to figure that one out. It pays to be a little paranoid when out in public if it means that you get to keep your gadgets.