NYPD Urges iPhone 5 Users To Register Serial Numbers At New York City Apple Stores

NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Smartphones do not necessarily make for smart owners.

In response to a sharp spike in iPhone thefts from unwitting consumers this year, the New York City Police Department will station officers at Apple Inc. locations throughout the city for Friday's release of the new iPhone 5.

The officers will help customers register iPhone serial numbers, or engrave them with unique identification numbers prefaced with the letters "NYC."

So many iPhones and other smartphones have been reported stolen this year that they have driven up citywide grand larceny and robbery statistics, police said.

More than 4,174 Apple device thefts have been reported in New York City this year, up 55 percent over last year, according to the New York Post. An NYPD spokesman did not immediately respond to requests to confirm these statistics.

Anyone with a valuable electronic gadget can register the device with police stationed at 21 Apple sales locations throughout the city on Friday, or at any city police precinct.

Prices for the new iPhone 5 range from $199 to $849, depending on phone capacity and service plans.