London Sees Surge in Phone Thefts as Criminals Target Tourists in Westminster and Beyond

London Sees Surge in Phone Thefts as Criminals Target Tourists in Westminster and Beyond

London has seen a dramatic increase in phone thefts, with nearly 52,000 devices stolen in the past year. Criminals on mopeds and e-bikes have been targeting victims using violent and distraction techniques.

The City of Westminster, a popular destination for tourists, has been the worst-hit borough, followed by Camden and Southwark.

This rise in thefts highlights the need for increased awareness and preventive measures to protect both locals and visitors.

The Surge in Thefts

In the past year, the City of Westminster reported 18,863 phone theft incidents, a staggering 47 percent increase from the previous year.

Camden and Southwark followed with 4,806 and 4,376 incidents, respectively.

Other affected boroughs include Hackney, Newham, Lambeth, and Islington. The total number of stolen phones in London exceeds 52,000, showcasing the severity of this crime wave.

Shocking Incidents Captured on Video

Disturbing videos have surfaced showing muggers on mopeds and e-bikes swerving alongside pedestrians, snatching their phones, and speeding off.

One thief, recently apprehended, managed to steal 24 phones in a single morning. These videos highlight the boldness of these criminals and the challenges faced by law enforcement in curbing this trend.

Comparative Statistics

From January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2023, the Metropolitan Police reported 165,933 mobile phone thefts, accounting for 52 percent of the total incidents in England and Wales.

Nationally, phone thefts rose by 20 percent last year, with 316,683 incidents reported. However, the actual numbers may be higher as some police forces did not respond to data requests.

Impact on Residents and Tourists

London remains the most affected city in England and Wales, with wealthy shoppers and tourists being prime targets.

The crime wave has created an atmosphere of fear and caution among locals and visitors alike.

Videos capturing these thefts, such as one near Tavistock Square in Marylebone, have gone viral, further emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue.

Police Response and Initiatives

The Metropolitan Police and City of London Police have been actively tackling the crime spree. The City of London Police has launched a targeted operation to disrupt phone snatching in the Square Mile.

This includes using DNA spray to link criminals to their crimes and raiding shops suspected of buying stolen handsets. Additionally, the force has reintroduced a cycle team and is seizing illegal e-bikes and e-scooters weekly.

Preventive Measures

To combat this rising trend, the Metropolitan Police has urged the public to be vigilant and use phone security features.

Key recommendations include being aware of surroundings, using the keypad lock, and considering anti-theft apps.

They also advise registering valuables on accredited property databases and knowing how to identify phones if stolen.

Real-Life Incidents

Several incidents illustrate the brazenness of these thefts. In Tottenham, a man narrowly escaped having his phone stolen by two crooks on a moped.

In another case, a thief on an electric bike snatched a phone near the Ritz hotel in broad daylight. These examples reflect the widespread nature of this crime and its impact on individuals.


London’s surge in phone thefts is a significant concern for residents and visitors.

The rise in incidents, particularly in tourist-heavy areas like Westminster, Camden, and Southwark, underscores the need for increased vigilance and preventive measures.

Law enforcement agencies are making strides in combating this issue, but public awareness and cooperation remain crucial in tackling this pervasive problem.

By following recommended safety tips and staying alert, individuals can better protect themselves against these opportunistic criminals.

TDPel Media

This article was published on TDPel Media. Thanks for reading!

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