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Crime and victims

Robbery and street crime

Crimes that occur on the street as people are going about their daily lives make everyone feel unsafe. That’s why we’re working to prevent it.

Robberies (including muggings, and snatch thefts) are the most common street crime.

Muggings involve using force and intimidation to steal property, while snatch theft is taking property from a victim without the use or threat of force.

Facts & figures

  • robbery rates increased by 3% in 2006-07 over 2005 figures, but overall rates of robbery are still down 16% over 2001 rates
  • 45% of robberies recorded by police in England and Wales took place in London
  • a mobile phone is stolen in half of all robberies
  • in a third of all robberies, a mobile phone is the only thing taken

(Source:  Crime in England and Wales 2006-07 report; National Mobile Phone Crime Unit)

How we're cutting robbery and street crime

Our street crime initiative involves a wide range of organisations working together to help reduce robbery rates.

Targeting crime hotspots

Police are using their resources in the areas that account for the majority of street crime. And across the criminal justice system, better case management and provision for victims and witnesses is having a positive effect on the levels of crime.

Targeting young people at risk of offending

An important part of the initiative involves preventive work with young people, with an emphasis on addressing the causes of crime.

The positive activities for young people scheme runs during the school holidays. It focuses on those most at risk of falling out of education and into criminal activity, and aims to offer them alternatives.

Cutting mobile phone theft

Last year more than 700,000 mobile phones were stolen - but we're working hard with the mobile phone industry to help make stealing phones less profitable.

In 2007 the major mobile networks set up systems to ensure that all stolen mobiles are blocked within 48 hours, making them completely useless. 

See Stolen mobiles don't work for advice on how to buy a second hand mobile safely, to make sure you don't buy a stolen mobile that will soon shut down.

How to stay safe from robbery

The chances of being a victim of robbery are low, but here are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables hidden – talking on a mobile, listening to an MP3 player, or openly carrying a laptop show potential thieves you have something worth taking.
  • Register your phone for free at immobilise.com (new window) This will help the police to return your phone to you if it gets stolen.

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