Southwark among worst boroughs for mobile phone snatching

Kit Heren (02 December, 2021)

The north of the borough is much worse for phone snatching, particularly Borough, Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, while Dulwich has far fewer incidents


Southwark is in the top five worst boroughs for phone snatching in London over the past year, police figures show.

Met data shows that there were 2,333 reported incidents when someone’s phone was taken from them illegally in Southwark between November 2020 and October 2021 – behind only Westminster, Hackney and Islington out of the 33 local authorities in London. Newham is the fifth worst borough.

The incidents are broken down into ‘theft’ and ‘robbery’. Robbery is when the person committing the crime uses force before or in the process of stealing the item – like punching the victim before taking the phone. Theft can also involve force, but only after the crime happens.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, across all boroughs there are many more incidents of phone theft than phone robbery. In Southwark there were 1,854 incidents of phone theft from November 2020-October 2021, compared with 479 phone robberies.

Westminster far outstripped any other borough, with 4,463 phone thefts and 798 phone robberies across the same period, for a total of 5,261 incidents.

Phone snatching in Southwark is mostly concentrated in the north of the borough, with Borough and Bankside and London Bridge and West Bermondsey by far the worst community policing ‘safer neighbourhood’ area over the past year. Some 372 phones were reported stolen in London Bridge and West Bermondsey from November 2020-October 2021, and 320 in Borough and Bankside.

Rotherhithe was the next worst area, with 193, although it was disproportionately high for phone thefts, with 173, and low for phone robberies, with twenty. North Walworth, St George’s, North Bermondsey, Old Kent Road, Faraday, Rye Lane and South Bermondsey completed the top ten community policing areas.

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The south of the borough was a much safer place to walk around with your phone out over the past year, according to police stats. In the Dulwich Hill area phones were reported stolen just nine times. In Dulwich Village and Champion Hill there were thirteen incidents and fourteen each in Dulwich Wood and Peckham Rye.

We have reported several times on the misery and distress caused by phone snatching – particularly in Rotherhithe and the area around Canada Water tube station –  as well as incidents of locals’ bravery when tackling would-be phone thieves head on. Godwin Perrot, the police sergeant for the Rotherhithe safer neighbourhood team told the News earlier this year: “We are aware of the issue and we are putting measures in place to try and stop it.”




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