According to the latest data, more than 91,000 mobile phone thefts have been formally reported stolen in London in 2022 – adding to an average of one device stolen every six minutes. The real number of the stolen phones is most likely quite higher, since not all crime victims file a formal report with the Met Police.
Minister for Policing of the United Kingdom, Chris Philp, said he was ‘deeply concerned by those figures as a Londoner.’
Mobile phone theft could lead to an identity theft, given the huge amounts of personal data stored on the electronic devices.
Commenting on the released data, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMCIFRS), the UK police watchdog, stated that the current mobile phone theft statistics are “unacceptable and unsustainable,” and that they play a significant factor in the public’s perception of the efficacy of London’s police force.
Out of 248 cell phones stolen on average each day in London, the Met Police recovered just 1,915 or approximately 2% of the devices reported as stolen last year. According to the Met Police statement, combating mobile phone robberies is ‘difficult’ but ‘daily operations’ are continuing in an effort to ‘address the issue.’
London boroughs of Westminster (25,899), Camden (7,892) and Southwark (5,690) recorded the highest number of cell phone thefts in 2022 – with the police recovery rates in all three below even the 2% average for the entire city.
Many of the latest models of mobile phones, such as Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, on the market can cost well over £1,000 (US$1,200) when purchased in the UK legally. Phone theft could also lead to an identity theft, given the huge amounts of personal data stored on the electronic devices – including credit card and banking information.
“Phone theft is not a minor crime,” His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services Chief Inspector Andy Cooke said.
“It strikes at the heart of how safe people feel in their own communities. There needs to be a concerted drive to address this because it directly affects the public’s confidence in the police’s ability to keep them safe.”