The New York City Police Department has been targeting electronic thefts on the subway. Pickpockets are no longer stealing wallets, cash or credit cards. Now, it appears that iPhones are worth more than currency.

Reports indicate that subway crime has surged nearly 22 percent this year. Some members of the police department say that advancements in phone technology and satellite reception contribute to this issue. Subway stations with service have become a breeding ground for thieves. Obviously, people are more likely to be on their phone in these areas making them vulnerable for criminals. The New York Police Department recently conducted a study of cell phone thefts in the transit system. iPhones were apparently the most sought after item for robbers, which accounted for over 70 percent of all stolen cell phones on subways and city buses.

More signal in subway stations and platforms is leading to more robberies, says Deputy Inspector Mark DiPaolo, commanding officer of Downtown Brooklyn's 84th Precinct, as reported the New York Post.

It is difficult to surf the web, turn on the television or read a newspaper without seeing an advertisement for an Apple product. Apple's brand name has become synonymous with the latest, hippest and sometimes most expensive technology. Therefore, one of the unintended consequences of Apple products and advertisements is an increase in thefts.

Even thieves are not immune to the marketing tactics Apple uses, says Jeffrey Sharlach. Sharlach is the Chairman and CEO of the JeffreyGroup, an organization that specializes in marketing and corporate communications. Of course they are seeing the ads and the billboards too. They are certainly aware of the brand and its attributes. Sharlach is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Management Communication, NYU Stern School of Business. Although Apple is not one of his clients, Sharlach has observed the marketing and advertising tactics by the company.

With Apple, it isn't just the advertising. It is very ubiquitous, he says. It is all the different apps: words with friends, angry birds. He added that Apple has advertised their products in such a way that there is this whole buzz surrounding each new item.

The penetration of Apple products is quite huge, says Sharlach. For example, he continued, his father, who is 80 years old, owns an iPhone and iPad. There is no one demographic where they have not been successful. This, of course, includes the demographic that composes the thieves of New York.

Thieves want to steal the iPhone more than any other electronic product, reports indicate. There are more reported thefts than even Blackberry phones and other smartphones.

You have to look at the technology of the different items, says Sharlach. The difference between the iPhone and many other smartphones is that the iPhone offers many other capabilities that other phones don't, even when it is offline.  Sharlach says that the user can play movies, shows, and listen to music, even if the phone is not functional. That is why individuals might not be so quick to pawn them of for a quick buck.

I wouldn't be surprised if people held onto them, says Sharlach.

The NYPD has been conducting sting operations in order to curtail the thefts. They have police officers pose as thieves looking to sell stolen electronics to bodegas and delis. The report also mentioned a public awareness campaign that hopes to remind straphangers to hold onto their belongings and protect their personal items, as previously reported by IBTimes. Police officers have also been posing as potential targets in order to root out thieves in the transit systems.