Met launches campaign to warn public of street robbery risk

15 January 2013

Poster from the campaign

Thieves see your possessions differently is the stark warning behind the MPS' new advertising campaign launching today [Tuesday 15 January] to alert the public to the risk of street robbery.

Radio ads and posters have been placed in targeted locations at stations, phone booths and online to remind the public to be aware of where and when they choose to put their valuables on display.

"Don't let yourself become a victim and ruin the start of your 2013."

The advertising highlights the importance of taking steps to protect phones, tablet devices, jewellery, cash and other valuables, and is timed to coincide with the start of the year when there is historically a rise in figures as children return to school and employees to workplaces.

MPS statistics for mobile phone crime offences traditionally show an increase in the month of January compared to the month of December - in December 2010 offences stood at 8,078, whereas they rose to 8,613 the following month, in January 2011.

Last month's figures [Dec 2012] show 9,751 mobile phone crime offences, continuing the trend.

Latest available financial year statistics also show that the number of robbery and theft (the latter category includes pick pocketing and 'snatch') offences increased in 2012. For the month of December 2012 there were a total of 17,583 offences, compared to 16,084 offences in December 2011.

Further statistics [financial year from March 31 to April 1] also show a rise in the number of personal robbery offences where jewellery is targeted- with figures rising from 2,440 offences in 2009/10 to 2,761 offences in 2010/11 and 3,589 offences in 2011/12. To date 2012/13 [to 31 Dec] there have been 2,681 offences.

Victims of robbery are more likely to be male, whereas females are more prone to theft. The most common profile for all victims however is a young professional likely to be aged between 20 and 30, out and about in the capital at an entertainment spot or other public places.

Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Letchford, Territorial Policing crime lead for the MPS, said: “We’re trying to make people think differently with this campaign - having your personal possessions on show gives robbers a chance to make easy money. If you are a victim you may lose things that have a personal value to you and which can’t always be replaced, in addition to the cost of replacing items.

“Just being conscious of where you are and being careful about when you display your valuables can help you avoid being targeted. Don't let yourself become a victim and ruin the start of your 2013."
Phones are by far the most common item stolen. Phones make up on average 70 per cent of items taken in personal robberies and Apple iPhones specifically account for around 50 per cent of all phones stolen.

Between April and September, 2012, 28,800 iPhones alone (out of a total number of 56,680 mobiles) were reported stolen in London - this equates to 314 phones of all types being stolen per day, and 158 iPhones specifically being stolen on average per day.

The MPS employs a range of tactics to tackle robbery and theft offences, using both covert and overt operations across the capital. These include high visibility patrols, the use of new and innovative technology to identify offenders and report crime and targeting the illegal mobile phone re-sale market. In a bid to encourage the public to help protect themselves, there is also a range of tips and visual demonstrations available on the MPS' social media channels of Youtube and Facebook.

Detective Chief Superintendent Letchford added: "While we will continue to work to reduce these offences, there are a number of practical steps you can take to help protect yourself - including videos and advice tips we have made available via our MPS website - and we would urge the public to view these."