Home­bound com­muters most at risk from Tube pick­pock­ets

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - News -

THEFTS on the Tube are up by 35% in just two years and you are most at risk on the com­mute home from work.

Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice fig­ures re­leased un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act show there were 5,153 thefts be­tween Au­gust 1 last year and July 31.

This is up from 3,812 re­ported in­ci­dents for 2015-2016.

Two lines on the Tube stand out as hotspots for pick­pock­ets, with both mak­ing up 34% of all thefts over the past year – and they are two key west Lon­don lines.

The Cen­tral and Pic­cadilly lines are the worst for thefts by some dis­tance.

There were 879 thefts re­ported on the Cen­tral line and 864 on the Pic­cadilly. The next high­est was the Vic­to­ria line, where 726 thefts were re­ported.

The Water­loo and City line, which has just two stops, was the safest train with just five thefts re­ported.

The Cir­cle line was the next safest with 97 thefts.

The fig­ures, ob­tained from the Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice by home in­surer Pol­icy Ex­pert, show Satur­days are the worst for thefts, with more than 900 re­ported.

Across any day, thieves are most likely to strike be­tween 6pm and 7pm as peo­ple come home from work.

Over­all, the night Tube proves the safest time to travel, with only 8% (435) of the re­ported in­ci­dents oc­cur­ring be­tween mid­night and 5am. That is less than both rush-hour slots, 5pm6pm and 6pm-7pm, on their own (498 and 625 in­ci­dents re­spec­tively).

March was the month with the high­est num­ber of thefts, with 525 in­ci­dents recorded. This was nar­rowly fol­lowed by De­cem­ber, which to­talled 506 re­ported thefts.

The fig­ures re­veal the most tar­geted age group were those aged be­tween 25 and 34, who re­ported 30% (1,527) of the thefts. This is more than 400 more in­ci­dents than the next clos­est age group, 18-25-year-olds, which ac­counted for 20% of vic­tims (1,044).

This means around half the vic­tims were be­tween 18 and 34.

The study also found that women were 1.4 times more likely to be a tar­get than men. In to­tal, 56% (2,877 in­ci­dents) were women com­pared to 41% (2,092 thefts) re­ported by men.

Pol­icy Ex­pert of­fers some pro­tec­tion ad­vice:

■ The most stolen items are of­ten mobile phones. While it’s tempt­ing to check your phone when on the move, en­sure you’re be­ing sen­si­ble with where you make calls and texts. Keep it out of sight in a zipped bag or pocket; ■ Never idly put down any small valu­able item, such as a phone or purse. Valu­ables left on seats will be both easy and tempt­ing to snatch;

■ Keep your bag where you can see it, ide­ally in front of you or di­ag­o­nally across your chest;

■ Con­ceal your wal­let in a but­toned or zipped pocket where it does not bulge; ■ If you are us­ing a cash, ticket or Oys­ter ma­chine, be wary of who is around you and make sure your pin is cov­ered; ■ Thieves of­ten work in groups, so try not to be dis­tracted by com­mo­tion or at­ten­tion which could be a ploy;

■ Fi­nally, check whether your home in­sur­ance pol­icy in­cludes away from home cover so if the worst does hap­pen, you at least know you are cov­ered fi­nan­cially.

Adam Pow­ell, op­er­a­tions direc­tor at Pol­icy Ex­pert, said: “Thieves usu­ally use dis­trac­tion tac­tics where they try and di­vert a per­son’s at­ten­tion so items can be stolen – usu­ally a phone, watch, wal­let, tablet, or a gad­get of some de­scrip­tion, but some­times an en­tire hand­bag.

“The Tube can be a busy place, so it’s im­por­tant to en­sure you’re not a tar­get for op­por­tunis­tic thieves when swept up in the crowds.

“Keep an eye on your bags and any other valu­ables, and be vig­i­lant around other pas­sen­gers.

“It’s also worth check­ing whether your home in­sur­ance pol­icy in­cludes away from home cover.

“That way if you do fall vic­tim to theft you can po­ten­tially be re­im­bursed for the items stolen.”

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