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New York Police fighting iPhone 5 thieves preemptively

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The NYPD's Operation I.D. makes your phone a lot less steal-worthy

It's no secret that the new iPhone 5 is a popular phone amongst the public — it shattered pre-order records. That means that your iPhone 5 will be a pretty popular phone with thieves, as well. Is there any way to protect yourself? There are some common sense tips — don't leave your phone unattended anywhere that it could be stolen, and don't leave it in your car even if its locked. And if you live in New York City, the New York Police Department wants you to go one step further, requesting you register your phone through their Operation I.D. program.

See, Apple phones come with a Find My iPhone feature — a nice tool for finding lost phones, and an especially great tool for finding stolen ones and tracking down the bad guys. The New York Police is taking that one step further. They're in front of the flagship Apple store on New York City's Fifth Avenue asking iPhone 5 owners to register their device's serial number with them. The idea is that by establishing your ownership of a device before it's stolen, you'll be able to recover your device without hassle should the police recover it in an arrest.

If you live in New York City, you don't need to travel to Fifth Avenue to participate in the program. You can just contact your local precinct's Crime Prevention Officer, who can loan you an engraver to mark your property with a special tracking number. (Engraved items are harder to resell.) And it's not just iPhone 5s that the police want you to register — any portable tech device can be registered, from Android phones to the Gameboy your grandmother gave you for Christmas in 1991.

And if you don't live in New York City? We recommend writing down your phone's brand, model number, and serial number, and keeping that info in a safe place in case your phone ever gets stolen. Keep copies of your phone's purchase receipts, too. That way, you'll be able to help the police help you, should the unthinkable ever occur.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Tecca

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