Having your phone stolen can be a terrifying experience – particularly in an age when our memories, contacts, banking details and personal information are at risk of being accessed by a thief.

So caution is needed when walking the streets of London, as statistics from the Metropolitan Police show that mobile phone thefts have more than doubled in some areas.

There are two types of phone crimes listed in the Met’s end of year statistics from 2022 to 2023; the robbery of a mobile phone (10,485 crimes recorded) and the theft of a mobile phone from a person (41,704 crimes recorded).

Robbery of phones means moments when force is used, while theft means a mobile is taken without violence, such as pickpocketing or snatching it from a table.

We will be comparing the theft of mobile phone from a person across different boroughs.

The five areas where phone snatching is becoming more common

While the total number of thefts in Greenwich seems low when compared to the figures in other areas, the south east borough had the biggest change between 2022 to 2023 when compared to the previous year.

In fact, just 202 reports were made between 2021 and 2022, while 451 were made in the following year – with an increase of 123.3%.

Southwark was the second borough where you are becoming more likely to have your phone snatched, with 3,426 offences reported, compared to 1,889 the year before. This is an increase of 81.4%.

There were more offences reported in Westminster (14,602) than the rest of London. But despite the extremely high figure, given that there were 8,536 the year before, it is ranked third in terms of phone theft increasing (71.10%).

Camden comes fourth, with 4,206 cases compared to 2,966 the year before – an increase of 41.8%.

Finally, Lambeth has had a 40.9% increase, with 1,911 thefts reported between 2022 to 2023 and 1,356 the year before.

The five areas where phone snatching is becoming less common

In Sutton there were just 100 cases reported between 2022 and 2023, compared to 128 the year before. This meant it fell by 21.9%.

Richmond upon Thames only had 87 thefts, compared to 116 the year before, with offences dropping by 25%.

While Kingston upon Thames had more cases in the recent year with 258 reports, it dropped by 33.7% in the previous year, with 389 thefts.

Hillingdon had 168 cases, compared to 288 the year before, a reduction of 41.7%.

Finally, Bromley had the best improvement, with 183 thefts reported between 2022 and 2023 compared to 330 the year before, 44.5% fewer.

However, if you were to look at the ‘robbery of mobile phone statistics’, Bromley is still the third worst, with 136 robberies compared to 76 the year before, an increase of 78.90%.

What does the Metropolitan Police say?

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Mobile phones are a sought after commodity for opportunistic criminals, and are most commonly stolen through pickpocketing, table surfing and more recently by individuals or gangs operating on mopeds.

“Dedicated proactive teams carry out activity across the capital on a daily basis. This includes enhanced high visibility patrols and proactive intelligence led activity. Together with this, specially trained officers focus their attention on hotspot areas during key times of the day to prevent those intent on using mopeds and other means of transport to target unsuspecting members of the public.

“It is important that victims and witnesses contact the police as soon as a robbery occurs – the first hour after a robbery takes place or the ‘golden hour’ is critical to catching robbers. In that first hour officers are able to ascertain crucial forensic evidence, helping to take violent criminals off our streets."