Thefts of iPhone smartphones are reportedly up 44 percent this year in New York City, according to a May 2012 report in the New York Post. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, during a city budget presentation, said iPhone owners are often at fault.\n\t\u201cWe do live in a world where people carry around, treat cavalierly, pieces of technology that\u2019s useful to somebody if they steal them,\u201d Bloomberg said. \u201cAnd they\u2019re easy to steal.\u201d\n\tEven if you don\u2019t live in New York, it\u2019s shockingly easy to get your iPhone, iPad or iPod stolen. Here are five sure-fire ways to ensure you and your beloved iDevice are separated.\n\t1. Sit near the door in a crowded caf\u00e9 with your iPhone or iPad on the table. \n\tNot long ago, I was in a busy caf\u00e9 in downtown San Francisco. Seated at a table near the door were two women engaged in a conversation. One woman had placed her iPad on the table and turned her attention away from it and toward her friend. Within a matter of seconds, an iThief walked in the door, quickly sized up the situation, stealthily grabbed the woman\u2019s iPad, and then ran across the street into an alley before anyone realized what happened.\n\tLater, a clerk told me she\u2019d witnessed several similar thefts\u2014always of Apple mobile devices\u2014in the few months she\u2019d worked at the caf\u00e9.\n\t2. Wear the white earbuds everywhere you go.\n\tWant to tell the world you\u2019re carrying an iPhone or iPod touch? Just wear the free white earbuds Apple includes in the box as you stroll around town. On the other hand, if you want to be left alone, wear a pair of BlackBerry-branded earbuds instead.\n\t3. Leave the white earbuds visible in your car.\n\tIf you leave your iPhone, iPod, or iPad visible in your unattended car, you\u2019re begging for a break-in. But the white earbuds will also do the trick. Two holiday seasons ago, I foolishly left a pair of white iPhone earbuds exposed on the passenger seat of my car. (I had my iPhone with me, fortunately.) When I returned, I discovered the driver-side window had been shattered and my car ransacked\u2014no doubt by an iThief looking for his favorite target.\n\t4. Talk while you walk. \n\tTalking while walking is cool in an Aaron Sorkin\/West Wing sort of way. And it\u2019s something we all love doing with our smartphones. But think about it: When you\u2019re talking on your iPhone while walking, you\u2019re already distracted from what\u2019s going on around you. Plus, you\u2019ve got only one hand on the phone as opposed to the two hands you use for texting. In short: You\u2019re an iTarget.\n\t5. Position yourself near the exit door of a bus or train with your iPhone visible.\n\tI\u2019ve read reports that in some metro areas, iThieves look for bus (or subway) passengers who stand near an exit door while holding an iDevice. At the last minute, right before the door closes, the perp grabs the iDevice and runs off. (Read about CIO.com blogger Tom Kaneshige\u2019s near-theft experience on mass transit in \u201cSmartphone Theft Starts Early.\u201d\n\tKidding Aside, iDevice Theft Is No Joke\n\tWhile my tips are obviously tongue in cheek, the theft of portable electronics is no laughing matter. Apple\u2019s devices are particularly attractive to thieves, as they tend to have a strong resale value. And with so many thefts occurring, it\u2019s difficult for police to apprehend the crooks and often even harder to prosecute them.\n\tUsing a password lock on your iDevice as well as registering it with Apple\u2019s Find My iPhone service can offer some protection. But don\u2019t fool yourself. Experienced thieves know exactly what to do to quickly convert your iDevice into $200 (or more) before you even know what happened.\n\tSo what can you do to protect yourself? Keep your iDevice hidden as much as possible when in public. Don\u2019t wear the telltale white earbuds. Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. If you need to take a call while walking, do it in a safe place whenever possible. Above all, never sit near a door in a public space with your iDevice clearly visible or, worse, unattended.\n\tIf someone grabs your device and runs off, don\u2019t pursue them, especially if you\u2019re alone. Sure, you might get your gadget back. But you might also get a punch in the face\u2014or much worse. No piece of technology is worth that.