MPS target street robbery 05 Sep 15:23

The Metropolitan Police Service is urging Londoners to take care of their valuables when out and about in a renewed awareness campaign, launched today, 5 September to help reduce street crime. To support the campaign a 1000 officers and PCSOs will be helping and engaging with school children across London as they start their new school year.


As operational activity to tackle personal robbery continues, including increased patrols in key locations and pro-active investigations to arrest suspects the MPS is asking Londoners to take simple steps to help themselves from becoming a victim.


While overall crime in London continues to fall there has been a recent rise in street robbery. The main factors for this year’s increase are a rise in the theft of high-value smart phones and digital media players; and gold jewellery robberies where stolen chains and necklaces are being sold for cash through the second-hand market - largely driven by the high value of gold.


The campaign, comprising of radio, roadside and online marketing activity will advise Londoners of how thieves see possessions as cash and reminds the public to take care where they take their valuables out.


To coincide with the new academic year the Met will be supporting children, especially year seven pupils just starting secondary school to advise them on how to keep safe. As 11 year olds start their new schools they are often making longer journeys or have new phones. At this time of year we have previously seen an increase in the number of young people (11-16) whose mobile phones are stolen after leaving school.


From today (5 September) until half-term (21 October) about a 1000 police officers and community support officers (PCSOs) will be deployed each day specifically to protect young people as they make their way home from school or college. They will provide a visible presence outside schools, in and around transport hubs and even on buses to reassure young people, give them tips on how to keep safe, and letting them know about SAFE: the Met’s youth website.


Assistant Commissioner Ian McPherson, head of MPS Territorial Policing said: "We take street crime very seriously - being robbed can be a traumatic experience and so tackling it is a key priority for us and we are doing everything we can through enforcement, education and prevention to address it.


“While concerted actions to tackle street robbery continue - including thousands of arrests under Operation Target, the Met’s drive on crimes against people and property - we are asking the public to take some basic precautions to help minimise the chance of it happening.


“When you are out, where possible try to keep any valuables hidden. Smart phones and media players are becoming must-have items for many people - that includes criminals too. They simply see these items as cash.


"Many robberies happen when people check their phones just after leaving a train or underground station, or when they are going about their business and may be distracted. Young people too, especially secondary school-aged children are also targeted - usually after school by other young people.


"We’re not asking the public not to use their phone or media players in public, or not to wear jewellery - we are just advising them to be vigilant about where and when they use or wear them.”


This year the MPS has been working with a range of partners and industries to help tackle the issues.


We’ve been working with local authorities to close down disreputable businesses and venues such as pawn shops, licensed premises, and crack houses - places which can attract or generate crime and anti-social behaviour.


In August the MPS and Cash Converters signed an information sharing agreement at New Scotland Yard to help tackle the issue of stolen goods being sold on the second-hand market. Under the terms of the London-wide agreement, the two sides will share information about any suspicious goods brought into the store and any items recovered by police.


We are working with the second-hand gold industry to look at ways of preventing thieves using this method of making financial gain from their crimes. The rise in gold chain snatches is believed to be because of the increased price of gold, and it is suspected that thieves are using second hand gold dealers to offload stolen jewellery. The MPS is aware of at least one incident where a gold chain stained with blood (likely to have been a victim’s) was sent in the post to a second hand gold business.


The MPS has also been working with the mobile phone industry to see how technology and software, such as tracking applications (apps) can help reduce street crime. Many of the latest smart phones can access apps which can help find lost or stolen mobile phones. Recently, a number of alleged suspects have been found in possession of stolen phones and tablets after police had found them due to the owner activating tracking software and applications.


In one case a 14 year old girl was arrested after officers used GPS tracking technology to find an I-Pod stolen in Brent on 2/8/11. The 13 year old victim had activated an app allowing the location of his phone to be traced. Officers followed the signal to an address in Wembley and arrested the girl who was found in possession of the I-pod. She was later convicted at Brent Youth Court on 22 August and sentenced to a referral order.


Londoners are also advised to keep a record of their phone’s IMEI number: its unique reference number. To find out the IMEI number type in *#06# and it will display the 15-digit number, which can then be registered at


AC McPherson added: “As well as taking care where you take out your valuables, we urge owners of smart phones, MP3 players and tablets to record the IMEI number and register it at We also advise owners to lock their devices, and utilise existing and freely available GPS tracking and location apps. These actions can help us find the phone if stolen as well as arresting the person who stole it.


“I’d like to remind Londoners that street robbery is still relatively lower than in previous years including 2006 when robbery was at peak levels. Our actions, particularly under Operation Target have helped stop the increase in robbery, while achieving reductions in overall crime and violence.


“There are seven million residents and a million visitors in London every day - this means the likelihood of being robbed in the capital is tens of thousands to one.


“We are here for London, and to help make sure people - whether young or old - can go about their daily lives as safely as possible. We are determined to do what we can to stop it happening in the first place, catch those responsible and bring them to justice.”


For more information or advice on how to keep safe visit