Monday 8 September 2014

Mobile phone thefts : UK tops the world list with 740,000 thefts a year

Stealing mobiles has been a lucrative business for thieves since the advent of expensive smartphones and if you thought Amchi Mumbai or India was the capital of mobile thefts in the world, think again.  A report published by the Home Office of Government of United Kingdom has reported that there were over 740,000 victims of mobile phone theft in the UK from 2012-13 with iPhones accounting for the majority of devices lost in London.

Mobile phone thefts : UK tops the world list with 740,000 thefts a year

The Home Office which published the report analysed hundreds of thousands of data points including England and Wales Crime Surveys to compile its report which is called "Reducing Mobile Phone Theft and Improving Security" and aimed at creating awareness among the law enforcement agencies.

The report which takes into account the financial year 2012-2013 has revealed 742,000 cases of mobile phone theft. This amounts to the thieves stealing smartphones from approximately 2 % of United Kingdom citizens.

Further classification of mobile thefts given in the report point to majority (40 %) as “other personal theft” which means that the owner has left the mobile unattended somewhere/misplaced it. Around a third were “theft from the person,” 11% “burglary in a dwelling” and 10% were listed as “robbery.”

Among the places where the mobiles were stolen, the report says that 37 % of the mobiles were stolen/lost on public transport or in a public place,  while 30% went missing in a bar or pub and 19% from the workplace.

A sample London data, which was collected by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) between August 2012 and January 2014, found that thieves specifically targeted women in the age group 20-24 and iPhone was by far the most stolen smartphone in London. In fact iPhone formed the bulk of the thefts at 50 % followed by BlackBerry (who steals those now a days!) at under 20% and then Samsung.

The Home Office report said that the mobile phone theft is on the wane due to various new features introduced by the smartphone manufacturers such as device tracking and lock and remote wipe functionality.  So much has the advent of security mechanisms affected the theft that after the launch of iOS7 and iPhone 5S and 5C handsets, thefts per day apparently dropped by between 3-15 in London.

The report urged users to use PIN locks on their device; install a tracker app to trace a lost device and wipe data; never leave phones unattended; and report them immediately to the police if stolen. The report has also advised smartphone users in UK to register their smartphones with Immobilise.com.

“This helps the police to identify you as the owner if it is recovered and allows you to keep a record of your IMEI number, which you will need if your mobile is lost or stolen,” the report explained.

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