Thefts from the person involving mobile phones, which covers offences like robbery and pickpocketing, were up 31% last year.
And the figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also reveal 46% of pickpocketing crimes related to stealing a mobile.
The most likely age group picked on by thieves are 14 to 24 year olds, who are twice as likely to be victims as older gadget owners
The crime figures also disclosed 2% of all mobile phone owners were victims of crime.
Separate research by Halifax Insurance has found that the over 18s own gadgets worth an average £4,164.
Many gadget owners take their technology out and about with them – with 46 million taking mobile phones out with them, 9 million listening to MP3 players on the move and 20 million snapping images with digital cameras.
Police and insurers are urging gadget owners to take some basic steps to keep their technology safe, including:
- Keeping devices out of sight by stowing in bags, car boots or pockets
- Show some discretion when tuning in to music or phones and taking pictures when outside
- Keep receipts and a photograph of your gadgets – and list the model and serial numbers
- Always password protect technology where you can – professional thieves will crack the code but opportunists may not bother to take something they may not be able to use
- Mark your gadget with your postcode with an ultraviolet pen so police can return the item if they catch the thief.
“Women aged 18 to 24 were at highest risk of mobile phone theft victimisation with 1 in 20 experiencing a theft in the last year,” said the ONS report.
“Mobile phone theft peaked in 2003/04. Since then, incidents involving a mobile phone theft have gradually fallen, reaching a low point in 2010/11 despite a continuing increase in mobile phone ownership, but has subsequently risen in the 2011/12.”
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