Thefts of mobile phones fall to lowest level for a decade

Mobile phone thefts in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest level for a decade, new data suggests.

Some 401,000 mobile phone owners had a device stolen in the year to March 2017, down from 446,000 in the previous 12 months.

The number, equivalent to 0.9% of all mobile owners, is almost half the total for 2006/07, when thefts were 796,000.

It represents a "statistically significant decline", according to the Office for National Statistics, which compiled the figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Mobile thefts peaked at 897,000 in 2008/09 (equivalent to 2.1% of mobile owners).

The figures also show that thefts of phones are most common among young adults.

Among 22 to 24-year-olds, 2.2% - roughly one in 45 people - had a mobile stolen in 2016/17. This is down from 4.3% in 2006/07, however.

Mobiles were involved in 32% of all thefts from the person in 2016/17, down from 51% in 2014/15.

Thefts from a person are defined as items taken from an individual using little or no force.

The average (mean) cost of items stolen during thefts from the person rose from £202 in 2015/16 to £221 in 2016/17, with the middle range (median) cost of items being around £100 in both years.

However, the proportion of more expensive items, valued between £500-£999, stolen also rose significantly compared with a decade ago, from around 3% of thefts from the person in 2006/07 to 16% in 2016/17.

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