Cheap Chinese appliance imports drive British burglars to switch to iPod muggings

A criminologist from England's University of Leicester claims his research shows that UK burglars are switching to mugging because cheap Chinese imports have crashed the market for used DVD players and other pawnables:
"Cheap labour in China has had an impact on the type of crime that's committed in the UK and the type of goods that are stolen today. Gradually, the prices of such goods has fallen so low as to they almost have no resale value. If you can buy a DVD player for £19.99, it's simply not worth stealing..."

"While DVD players for example, got cheaper, certain consumer items became smaller and were very, very expensive and sought after and so the latest mobile phone, or the latest ipod, which people carry about them, have become targets for robbers."

It is these expensive, personal items, which are the most attractive to thieves today as they still retain value and can therefore be sold on, igniting a career change for criminals from the more traditional household burglaries to personal muggings.

Burglars Have Changed Their 'Shopping List', New Research Reveals


  1. One of the reasons (apart from better sound) that I tossed my white buds and bought some black headphones right after buying my ipod.

  2. I wonder if this will open up a market for having a stun gun that looks like mock ipods/phones that you pull out of your pocket and will light their ass up after 5 secs if they don’t hold it a certain way?

    The scumbag drops to the ground, you take their wallet. Profit.

  3. I used to have a Rolex. My dad used to sometimes say “Never put something on your wrist worth more than your hand.” I no longer have the Rolex . . . be careful people.

  4. Another reason why Apple should have more reasonably priced goods!

    (Tongue in cheek, no need to start flaming fanboys)

  5. So cheap DVD players are making burglars switch to mugging for ipods? I’m slightly confused. As strange as it might sound, these things are also available in their old workplace of your house (because even ipod pedestrians have to go home sometime) along with all sorts of other more traditional desirables like money, jewellery and that laptop you don’t take to bed. Why would they suddenly switch because some items aren’t worth much now? Isn’t it possible that they are switching because there are just more people walking the streets with more expensive items on their person than before and mugging them is easier than the hassle of breaking into a house?

    I’m also a bit iffy about the language used by this Treadwell in the quotes – “we have seen a rise in other forms of criminal activity, particularly young people who seem to be mugging one another.” Not “young criminals are attacking young innocent victims”. No, young people are involved in some kind of mutual violence towards each other.

  6. annoyingmouse, in general burglars prefer to know for certain that there’s something portable and worth stealing in a house before breaking into it. DVD players are often easily visible from a window, whereas with iPods, jewellery and cash that’s much less likely.

  7. China has as much to do with iPods as it has to do with DVD players. Why not “Stagnation in home appliance market reduces break-ins”?

  8. I declined renter’s insurance for this same reason. My boring black PC isn’t going to fetch anything at the local pawn shop (they have enough trouble selling them as it is) and I can replace my guitar for less than a years worth of renter’s insurance. I do however carry between $300 and 1500 worth of electronics on my person or in my car on an average day.

    1. “I declined renter’s insurance for this same reason… I can replace my guitar for less than a years worth of renter’s insurance. I do however carry between $300 and 1500 worth of electronics on my person or in my car on an average day.”

      In many cases renter’s insurance policies will also cover items stored in a vehicle. I don’t know about on your person, though.

  9. I remember readings some statistics for 2008 where many of the muggings here is San Francisco, occur at 16th and Mission, are strong arm muggings (no weapons), and are for acquiring iPods and iPhones.

  10. Could you say “The UK’s University of Leicester”, instead of “England’s …”?

    You’re propagating the myth that England and the UK are fundamentally different countries. It’s quite insulting to the Scots the Welsh and the Irish.

    1. In fact, England *is* a different country from Scotland. UK, England, Britain, Great Britain, and other terms all have well-defined meanings:

      In particular, Scotland and England have extremely different legal systems, which is the specific reason that I said “England’s University of Leicester” when discussing a finding from a criminologist.

      I live in England and am married to a Welsh woman. The idea that the University of Leicester is in England is not insulting to any of my Welsh family. They also aren’t insulted to discover that Edinburgh is in Scotland or that Llangranog is in Wales. Nor is my Northern Irish ex- offended by any of this intelligence.

      I suggest to you that any offense is taking place between your screen and your fevered imagination, and is not in any way related to the factual matter of Leicester being in England.

  11. Ranec, by your own rules your mention of ‘the Irish’ could conceivably offend those people native to the *Republic* of Ireland, since it is an entirely separate and independent country and in no way part of England, Great Britain or the UK. I also wonder if you ever say that residents of Northern Ireland are British when you surely mean UKish – since Northern Ireland is part of the UK but not part of Great Britain. Pedantry is much like pottery – leave a hole and you’re likely to be burned by snarky/scalding tea.

    1. This is now very off-topic, but Northern Irish people are British (wiki).

      I would think there’s no point breaking into a house to steal an iPod since when the house is empty the person probably has their iPod with them.

  12. This surely is less to do with China and more to do with the advancement of entertainment technology. DVD players aren’t luxery items any more, so manufacturers are not aiming them at the luxury market.

    Ranec, leicester is in england. It’s perfectly normal to refer to geographical places like this. It might be insulting to talk about, say, the prime minister of England, because he is also the prime minister of wales and northern ireland. Leicester is only in England. This is kind of obvious, mate.

  13. I am a tenant and took contents insurance with additional cover for personal possessions while out of the home (covers my things when in my car (provided it’s locked) or physically on my person while outside my flat) and also took out cover for cash and credit cards. Sadly the excess is £200 so I have to cover the first £200 of any claim…

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