Gadgets blamed for rise in street crime

Your gadget may just land you in a spot of bother if official Met Police figures are to be believed.

According to the latest stats, expensive mobile gadgets such as MP3 players and iPads are all driving street crime in London. Official figures show there were 31,841 street robberies recorded last year in London, which was an increase of 8.3 percent compared to 2009. In this year,13,400 phones were snatched. There were also 24,264 robberies in London between April and October last year, with more than a third (36 percent) of victims aged 19 or younger.

“Smart phones and media players are becoming must-have items for many people – that includes criminals too. They simply see these items as cash,” Met Commander Simon Pountain said.

And it seems we’re most at risk when on public transport as we’re more  distracted by our mobile phones as we get off trains and buses.

Apparently we’re often oblivious to our surroundings as we concentrate on new messages and voicemails.

Mr Pountain said: “We want to make people aware of their surroundings and to take responsibility for their property.

“We see a lot of people distracted by their phone going off in the street, particularly when they are coming out of a Tube station.

“We are all busy people, often trying to do two things at once, but it is plain to see how easy it becomes for people to become a victim.”

We called a Street Crime charity to see if our gadgets were really contributing to the rise of street crime. A representative for the charity told us: “It’s fair to say that gadgets distract us and attract muggers, which of course leads to crime. However, around London, gang warfare far outweighs gadget muggings.”

And gadget crime panic has also hit the Paris streets following a spate of smartphone thefts on public transport, including one that resulted in the death of a 27-year-old woman.

According to Business Week this has prompted the French capital’s police to blame what they call the “iPhone effect.”

RATP, the operator of Paris’s Metro, bus, and tram lines, has begun handing out fliers in four languages telling travellers that their mobile phone is “so valuable that others would like to get their hands on it too.”