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Mind the bag London transport theft hotspots revealed

Press release: 26/06/2014

Londoners are more likely to fall victim to theft on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines[1] than any other London Underground route, according to new research.

Official figures obtained by a freedom of information request from LV= home insurance reveal that most reported thefts occurred on the Piccadilly line last year[2]. However, when the crime figures are weighted against the number of passengers travelling on each line, most thefts per person occurred on the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines, followed by the Central line and Jubilee line[3].

British Transport Police figures show that overall reported crime on the London Underground fell from 6,955 incidents in 2012 to 5,878 in 2013[4], representing a 15% decrease. However, this reduction is not being seen on all lines as thefts on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) has increased by 26% over the same period[5].

The data also reveals which stations thieves are most likely to target with tourist hotspots coming top of the list. Most thefts last year were recorded at Kings Cross St Pancras (283)[6], with thousands of people using the station every day for journeys to Europe on the Eurostar and to Kent on the High Speed 1. The second highest number of thefts was reported at Victoria (268), followed by Oxford Circus (255).

A separate freedom of information request to the Metropolitan Police reveals that thieves are also targeting the London bus network with almost 23,000 thefts being reported in 2013[7].

Thieves tend to target cash and small, high value items that are easy to sell on. Of all the items reported stolen, mobile phones top the list followed by cash, credit cards and wallets. Bag theft is also very common with 568 bags reported stolen last year, as well as laptops (277) and watches (125). More unusual items reported stolen include games consoles (19), prams and wheelchairs (5), toys (5) plants (2) and one unlucky traveller even had a pet taken[8].

Most home insurance policies do not automatically cover theft away from the home unless personal possessions cover is added to the policy. With certain routes seeing an increase in reported thefts, LV= is urging Londoners to check their insurance to ensure they are not left out of pocket if something is stolen from them while out and about.

The sheer number of people that use the London transport system each day makes it easy for opportunistic thieves to target unsuspecting travellers without them noticing. Mobile phones are a common target for thieves as they are small enough to pocket and can be easily sold on. Theft away from the home is not covered as standard on most home insurance policies and it is worth checking that you have the right cover for your belongings should the worst happen.

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= home insurance

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For further information please contact:

Vanessa Chance, vanessa.chance@lv.com, 0208 256 6996/ 07947 380074


LV=

LV= employs 5,800 people and serves over 5.5 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trade unions.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

Notes to editors:

All data unless otherwise stated was obtained via two FOI requests submitted by LV= home insurance. The first was sent to the British Transport Police asking for information regarding thefts on the London Underground in 2012-2014. The other was sent to the Metropolitan Police asking for information regarding thefts on London Buses in 2012-2014.

  1. British Transport Police data combines the Circle and Hammersmith & City line figures. When these figures are analysed against the number of passengers using these lines, there were still more thefts on these lines per person than on any other line in 2013. When the number of thefts per underground line is compared to the number of passengers traveling on each line, the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines have the most thefts per person.
  2. Source: British Transport Police.
  3. Source: British Transport Police.
  4. Source: British Transport Police.
  5. Source: British Transport Police.The total number of victims of theft in 2013 on the DLR were 167 and 133 in 2012, which represents a 26% rise. There were also 260 victims of theft in 2013 on the London Overground and 238 in 2012, which represents a 9% rise, however the line was extended around this time and so the increase may not be proportionate to the increased number of passengers on the route.
  6. Source: British Transport Police.
  7. Source: Metropolitan Police. There were a total of 22,947 reported thefts on London Buses in 2013.
  8. Source: British Transport Police.