The rising trend of smartphone muggings in the UK, particularly amongst teens, has led to many local police forces offering tailored advice on how to use and carry your smartphone safely. Even UK gadget companies like Money4Machines offer advice on their company blog on how to minimise the risk of smartphone theft.
“A huge part of the problem is about vulnerability. When you take your smartphone out to answer a loud ringtone on a crowded street, you’re not safe just because a crowd surrounds you. Grabbing handsets out of people’s hands as they’re chatting on the phone at the bus stop isn’t uncommon, especially in cities.”
And in London, muggers are taking things a step further by getting on their bikes to aid a swift getaway. According to figures released last week by Scotland Yard, 56,680 smartphones were stolen in London over the past six months, putting smartphone muggings up by 400%
Bus stops, tube and railway stations are hotspots for the crime, and it seems thieves on bikes have a very high success rate. A Money4Machines spokesperson said,
“A lot of the time you don’t even realise you’ve been mugged for a second or two. Thieves are so brazen that they’ll snatch your smartphone as you’re using it and disappear into the crowds before you can react.
A lot of smartphones are stolen and used in further crimes – identity fraud, etc. – rather than sent to sell for cash London stores. You should always note the ID number of your handset and keep it in a safe place ready to hand over to the police if you’re mugged. The bottom line is that if you want to hang on to your device and sell mobile smartphones etc to fund an upgrade, you need to be smart with how you use them in public.”
Police are advising smartphone owners to avoid using valuable devices in crime hotspots, keep ringtones on silent, use headphones to talk on the phone and keep your device in a sealed pocket.
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