Around 10,000 phones are stolen every month in London, according to the Metropolitan Police, with iPhones accounting for approximately half of all these handsets. In total, about 50% of personal robbery offences and almost 80% of ‘theft from the person’ offences in the capital involve mobile phones.
The figures were published as part of ‘Operation Big Wing’, which took place yesterday. More than 5,000 officers targeted thieves who steal mobile phones and other valuables, with over 230 arrests taking place. It’s the fourth such operation this year; the three previous operations resulted in more than 1,700 arrests.
Commander Stephen Watson, who led the operation, said “Mobile phone related crime is a high priority for the MPS - work continues day in and day out to target those responsible and the networks they use to sell on stolen property, but big, highly visible operations like today play a major part in the fight against crime and demonstrates there is no hiding place for criminals. Crimes like burglary, robbery and theft have a huge impact on the people who are victims. The operation aims to stop criminals stealing in the first place but registering your phone can really help us get your property back to you and bring successful prosecutions against those who are targeting these high value devices. We would also ask the public to take extra care of their valuables. Many of the thefts are taking place during the day in shops and cafes but at night the problem moves to bars and nightclubs.”
Total crime in London is falling, although mobile phone theft has caused figures for personal theft to rise by 12% year-on-year. In response, the Met Police has been working with the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit to target mobile phone crime in a number of areas.