App has success stories
The Find My iPhone application is proving to be a helpful crime fighting tool but it won't always save the day, police warn.
The application acts like a GPS system which means iPhone or iPad owners can log in on another device to find out where it is and if it's lost or stolen.
Similar applications are available for other smartphones.
Craig Edwards is one of the technology's success stories.
His partner's car was broken into at One Tree Hill in January and among the things stolen was her iPhone.
"We had a look around but there was no CCTV, the app was our only lead."
A lost or stolen device has to be switched on to be traced and later that evening its location popped up on the couple's iPad.
"I made my way around to the house and had a look and noticed my shoes on the front porch," he says.
Police were called and the couple got back a lot of their belongings.
"It's lucky we had the app," Mr Edwards says.
Auckland police are regularly coming into contact with Find My iPhone.
"It's something we have been becoming more aware of over the last 12 months," Auckland City area prevention manager Inspector Vaughn Graham says.
He says cellphones are still a big commodity for thieves in the city, but the application won't necessarily get your phone back because there are limitations on the police's powers to act on it.
"It gives a general location which can be problematic," Mr Graham says.
Police need to believe that an item is in a particular property to be able to search it, Onehunga Community Policing Team Sergeant Rhys Smith says.
In Auckland there are a number of apartment blocks or multiple units on a piece of land.
"Where there are three units next to each other you can't believe it is in all three," Mr Smith says.
"We can't just go kicking in doors.
"There's still nothing stopping police from knocking on the door, so still call us."
He has had some success with the application but advises phone owners against taking things into their own hands.
"It's only a phone and your safety is more important than a phone. You don't know who is in the house, is it really worth putting your safety at risk?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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