London is a busy and dense city. With that in mind, it’s understandable you’ll have your mobile phone out. Whether it be to look up directions, text your friends to tell them where to meet you or even check what time your theatre show is on. But thousands of mobile phones are stolen in the city each year and you could be a victim of moped thieves.
These criminals use mopeds and bicycles to snatch phones, watches and other valuables, often mounting the pavement to ride up behind their victims. They target busy streets, tube and train stations, and they’re opportunistic. They look for people who are busy using their phones and oblivious to their presence.
Although the number of incidents are decreasing, nearly 4,000 phones have been stolen in London since January 2018. A large portion of these crimes are linked with moped theft; mopeds, or more accurately scooters, are being stolen and increasingly used to commit other crimes, mainly phone snatches.
The Met use a range of operational tactics to target and pursue thieves on mopeds. These include pursuing thieves on newer, faster bikes, using tyre deflation devices to stop offenders in their tracks and DNA tagging spray to trace thieves. This spray creates a forensic trail which helps secure convictions. The Met also has teams of officers who work to investigate and link these crimes and can identify suspects, even if they are wearing helmets and face coverings.
The police are doing all they can to arrest those responsible, but you can help to protect your phones and valuables by following a few simple steps:
1. Look up and look out – be aware of your surroundings
2. Don’t text while walking as you’ll be distracted
3. Go hands free or stand away from the roadside, near a wall, so no one can come up behind you
4. Be discreet
5. Don’t openly display high-value jewellery
6. Keep handbags fastened and close to you
7. Protect your phone
8. Make sure the security features on your phone are activated
9. If you can, install an anti-theft app
10. Find your IMEI number by dialling *#06#. Keep a written note of it and report it to the police if the phone is stolen
11. Register your phone on www.immobilise.com and the police may be able to recover it
Remember, never confront a thief or risk your own safety for the sake of your mobile device/valuables.