A phone is reported stolen in London every six minutes

As the old adage goes, keys, wallet, phone. Keys, wallet, phone. But you might want to think twice about where you put your phone when leaving the house now, as a mobile-related crime wave is sweeping the capital: one phone in London is stolen every six minutes, data has revealed. 

The BBC discovered that there were ​​91,000 reports of phone theft in London in 2022, amounting to a whopping 248 stolen phones every day. Only two percent (1,915) of nicked phones were recovered last year, meaning that 90,864 phones were never found. 

Watch out if you’re heading to Westminster, as this saw the highest number of phones pickpocketed with 25,899. Camden, Southwark and Hackney had the next highest reported thefts, with 7,892, 5,960 and 4,618 respectively. In Bexley, phones were the safest, with 432 reported stolen last year.  

Recovery rates were equally low across the city, with areas like Westminster (1.3 percent), Hackney (1.7 percent) and Camden (1.8 percent) all below the London-wide average.

The Metropolitan Police said policing phone theft was ‘difficult’ and they continue to put in place ‘daily operations’. 

However, the independent inspector of police forces, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMICFRS), told the BBC the charge rate for phone theft was ‘unacceptable and unsustainable’

HMCIFRS Chief Inspector Andy Cooke, said: ‘Phone theft is not a minor crime, 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.’

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