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Game console theft rises 285% over 3 years

Smaller devices bigger targets for theft, says FBI

Despite a drop in reported property crimes the theft of games consoles in the US has risen 285 per cent since 2007 according to new FBI data.

The disproportionate rise is likely to be due to the increased popularity of portable games consoles which are easy targets for theft, FBI representative Anthony Weiner told USA Today.

"They seem to become bigger targets for theft," he said. "It's the omnipresent, miniature electronics crime paradox: Even as crime goes down, when you have more electronics, you have more theft."

In 2007, the number of videogame system thefts stood at 11,074, rising to 21,732 in 2008 and 42,615 in 2009.

Property crime however, which includes theft of electronics, dropped from 10 million in 2006 to 9.8 million in 2008.

"Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold," said Larry J Siegel, criminologist at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. "The most expensive thing in my house is my refrigerator, but nobody is trying to steal my refrigerator."

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Kath Brice