The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) arrested over 3,500 people in just six months for mobile theft in London, as criminals snatch high-end devices from members of the public, most notably the iPhone.
Data from the MPS reveals that around 7,000 phones are stolen every month in the capital. Around 80 percent of those are iPhones, putting thefts for Apple’s high-end device at a staggering 5,600 per month.
The demand for top-tier devices such as the iPhone has meant that while crime in London is falling as a whole, personal theft, where items are taken from members of the public, has risen 10 percent over the last 12 months.
In an attempt to crack down on this growing menace the police launched a trial operation in five boroughs erarlier this year – Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney and Lambeth – called Operation Ringtone to target those carrying out these crimes.
This has led to 3,504 arrests between 1 February and 21 July 2013, and the Met claimed this led to a reduction in phone thefts in these boroughs of almost 10 percent – equating to 2,020 fewer victims.
The force now intends to roll this out across London alongside a campaign called ‘Love your Phone’ to make Londoners more aware about the theft threats that exist in the capital.
MPS Commander Christine Jones said: "People are naturally distracted in busy environments, such as cafés, bars and pubs so we are working with the owners, giving crime prevention advice and information about local criminals to help them keep their customers safe and keep the thieves out."
The update from the Met comes as London mayor Boris Johnson joins forces with New York and San Francisco to try and urge smartphone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and Microsoft to do more to help in the fight against crime.
They want the firms to make it easier to disable phones if they are stolen, thereby rendering them unusable for thieves and making phone theft pointless.
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