Smartphones and tablets are theft targets


Smartphones and tablets are more likely to be taken during a theft in Leicestershire than in London, new research shows.

Data obtained from a series of Freedom of Information requests to England's police forces by security and communications firm ViaSat found that while electronic device theft accounted for 27% of theft reports to City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, the figure rose to 51% in Leicestershire.

This was much higher than the national average, which was 19% of all thefts being device-related.

However, ViaSat reported a drop in total reported thefts compared with similar research carried out last year - with reports to the Met Police falling 37% alone, and on average 34% across the country.

ViaSat chief executive Chris McIntosh said that personal data on the devices was still a draw for criminals: "Whether a corporate smartphone, a personal tablet, or your bank manager's laptop, there is a huge amount of information stored on electronic devices that can compromise our privacy.

"The simple fact is that, for many thieves, the most tempting target isn't necessarily the device itself, but what it contains. From access to your bank records, to blackmail, to flat-out identity theft, a lost or stolen device can still damage its owner long after it's stolen.

"As the largest city in the UK, with the most visitors, London will have a disproportionate number of thefts. But as we can see from these results, wherever you are in the UK you need to not only be wary of your own devices, but make sure that anyone who records and stores your sensitive data does so responsibly and securely."

Between March 1 2014 and February 2015, there were 285,312 reports of theft to City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, with 77,243 involving electronic equipment.

In Leicestershire there were 8,661 reports of theft, with 4,451 involving electronics.