More than 7,500 Metropolitan Police officers are taking part in a co-ordinated crackdown on thieves targeting the public’s phones and other valuables.
Officers have carried out a series of dawn raids targeting suspected thieves and those handling stolen goods in an operation involving officers from the Met’s Safer Transport, Traffic, Dogs, and Marine teams.
They will also be making spot checks and giving advice to pawn shops and other stores where thieves may try to sell on stolen goods.
The operation also includes high visibility patrols, street-side briefings and advice to the public on how to keep their valuables safe.
Mobile owners are being reminded to register their handset‘s IMEI number to ensure stolen phones can be blocked, reducing their value to thieves.
Earlier this month Mayor Boris Johnson called on handset makers to design mobile theft out of their products.
Official crime figures show theft from person offences are growing despite a fall in overall personal robbery.
According to the Met, around 70% of all theft from person offences involve a mobile phone and of these, around 80 per cent of these involve an iPhone. In all, around 7,000 phones are stolen each month.
Commander Stephen Watson, who is leading today’s operation, said: “Crimes like burglary, robbery and theft have a huge impact on the people who are victims.
“By targeting those people responsible, plus the networks they use to sell on stolen property or trade for drugs, we aim to make our streets a hostile place for them to operate. ”The MPS regards mobile phone related crime as a high priority and we are working hard on a daily basis to tackle the issue.”
Commander Watson said the public have an important part to play in helping reduce theft and ensuring those responsible are brought to justice.
“Registering your phone can really help us get your property back to you and bring successful prosecutions against those who are targeting these high value devices.
“We would also ask the public to take extra care of their valuables. Many of the thefts are taking place during the day in shops and cafes but at night the problem moves to bars and nightclubs.”