Nearly half a million Brits had their mobile phones stolen last year – and people in their early twenties are twice as likely to fall victim to thieves.
While the good news is that mobile phone thefts are at a ten-year low, a shocking one in a hundred phone owners have one stolen every year.
The data, from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, shows that rates are far higher for young people – 2% of 22-24 year olds and 2.4% of those aged 18-21.
And you need to be particularly careful if you have an HTC M8 2, a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge or an iPhone – the research shows that these are the phones most likely to be deliberately targeted.
Helicopter footage captures mobile phone thief escaping
The thieves’ favourite methods are simple pickpocketing and snatch theft, where a phone is grabbed from the victim’s hand. More than 40% of phones are stolen this way, compared to just 5% that are taken during a mugging.
“The reduction in the theft of mobiles is welcome news but their popularity, and the value of some component parts, means hundreds of thousands of people a year will still have handsets stolen – most likely snatched from their hands,” says Rob Basinger, head of UK at gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble.
“Many theft victims tell us thieves mounted pavements on push bikes or motorcycles to grab their handsets, so mobile users should always be aware of their surroundings.”
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Home Office research indicates that fewer phones are being stolen because thieves are increasingly foiled by security systems.
However, many users don’t take advantage of the features they’ve got. Nearly half don’t bother using a PIN code and only a fifth use apps to track their phone if it is lost or stolen. Nearly a third of people take out mobile phone insurance.
“Given that most flagship smartphones cost more than £500 to replace, it can be an expensive loss,” says Basinger.
“Taking a few minutes to activate your phone’s in-built security technology is time well spent, while targeted insurance gives people a way to protect themselves financially as well.”
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Top 10 mobile models targeted by thieves (Data from Metropolitan Police, 2015)
1. HTC M8
2. Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
3. Apple iPhone 6 Plus
4. Apple iPhone 6
5. Apple iPhone 6s
6. Samsung Galaxy S6
7. Samsung Galaxy S5
8. Samsung Galaxy Note
9. Apple iPhone 5C
10. HTC One
Revealed: thieves’ favourite mobile phones