Met Police: Phone thefts in London down 40pc in the past year

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Personal robbery of a mobile down 40.5 per cent, with declines in crime attributed to increased preventative measures being enforced  

The Metropolitan Police saw mobile phone theft and robbery fall by almost half in London over the past year as a result of operations and preventative measures driving down offending.

For the year to February 10, 2015, theft of a mobile phone from a person was down 40 per cent to 18,932 from 31,557 reported offences (12,625 less offences), with personal robbery of a mobile down 40.5 per cent to 8,494 from 14,276 reported offences (5,782 less offences).

The Met said the vast majority of theft occurs on public transport (38 per cent), followed by bars, pubs or clubs (30 per cent), the workplace (19 per cent), in the street (six per cent) and elsewhere (eight per cent).

Four in 10 offences occur as a result of mobiles being left unattended, while more than a third (34 per cent) are snatched by pickpockets. Eleven per cent are stolen during burglaries, 10 per cent in robberies and five per cent from vehicles.

Women seen as targets

Women are primarily the target gender, with 56 per cent of all victims of mobile thefts being female, while people aged 20-24 are preyed on more than any other age group.

Metropolitan Police commander Simon Letchford said there are a number of preventative measures people should continue to take, such as activating a pin lock or password on the mobile, registering their phone at Immobilise.com and backing up data and wiping it if the phone is stolen.

“Expensive gadgets make them ideal targets for thieves,” he said. “They should take as much care of their phones as they would with their other valuables – they would be reluctant for example to openly display hundreds of pounds worth of cash on the street.

“There are a number of practical steps they can take to help protect their property, and which will give us the best chance in the event of a robbery or theft of getting their mobiles back to them. I would urge all owners to take the time to carry these out.”

Operation Ringtone

Preventative measures introduced by the Met include Operation Ringtone, which was launched with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU) in February 2013, targeting theft hotspots in London with increased patrols.

All police officers can also access ‘Immobilise’, an online UK national property register that enables the public to register details of possessions on a data base. With the Met conducting more than 20,000 checks every month, it enables them to check the status of any mobile phone they are suspicious of and help them make arrests.

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