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Alarming rise in Gadget theft and street robberies

Met police chief says an average of 158 iPhones a day were reported stolen from April to September last year. See how you can protect yourself and your gadgets.

The Metropolitan Police Service launched an awareness campaign yesterday to alert the public of the dangers of street robbery.

In December 2010 there were 8,078 mobile phone crime offences recorded in the London Metropolitan area. This figure had risen by nearly 21% for December 2012 at 9,751 offences. January has traditionally been a busier month for thieves and muggers relieving you of your Christmas presents and if patterns continue, we could be looking at around 10,400 mobiles being stolen this month.

Figures for April to September 2012 showed 56,680 mobile phones being reported stolen in London just over half of which were iPhones.

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.”

The MPS give the following tips to avoid becoming a phone theft victim:

  • Ensure it's harder for thieves to get at your phone by making a habit of keeping it in a secure or zipped pocket

  • If you are getting out your phone out in the street, don't attract attention to it – try to avoid texting/checking it as you are walking along and be especially alert when taking it out as you emerge from public transport hubs – these are often hotspots.

  • Keeping both hands on the phone and holding it on the side of your body away from the street can make it harder from thieves on pedal or motorbikes to snatch it from you.

  • Never leave your phone unattended in a public place and don't leave it lying in front of you on a table as you could become prey to distraction theft. A lot of thefts occur in pubs, restaurants or concerts where the phone is left in handbags or unattended jackets.

  • Don't leave your phone in an unattended car – if you must, lock it out of sight. It only takes seconds for a thief to smash a window and steal it.

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