Thursday, 19 January 2012

Snatching the Bus

Travelling by bus may be one of the safest ways of getting from A to B, but perhaps its beginning to attract the wrong kind of passenger.

According to a recent report in the Daily Telegraph, police are warning that around one in five of all pickpocket crimes and bag snatches now take place on public transport .

Buses, trains and tubes have become the target of choice for thieves, they say, overtaking shops and supermarkets or bag snatches in the street, which had all previously been the more popular.

Last year there were 563,000 such thefts reported, with 20 per cent of them occurring on public transport, 18 per cent in shops and 16 per cent in the street.

Not surprisingly, the most common items to be stolen are wallets, cash and mobile phones, though I was surprised to find that the average value of goods taken per person was around £153, which seems high.

However, senior police officers warn that criminals see bag snatches and pocket-picking as increasingly lucrative ways to earn a living, given that people now routinely carry hundreds of pounds worth of gadgets like mobile phones and personal stereos with them.

Add to that the UK's economic downturn which they reckon is fuelling an increase in acquisitive crime generally, and you have a growing problem with crime of public transport.

Police advice is for passengers to do their bit and protect their belongings by ensuring that valuable items are not visible. Rucksacks and hand bags should be carried in front of you and phones and wallets not stowed in the outer pockets of bags where they can be easily lifted.

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