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A rise in ‘Phone Zombies’ sees a rise in mobile phone theft

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Mobile phone theft


Are you a ‘Phone Zombie’?

Are you absorbed by your mobile phone while walking around? Do you rarely lift your eyes to look at the world around you?

If the answer is yes, then you could be a ‘phone zombie’.

What does this have to do with theft?

The so-called ‘Phone Zombie’ has become an easy target for mobile phone theft. Criminals often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations. Outside stations, shopping centres or concert venues are full of rich pickings for moped thieves, who sit two to a bike as one drives and the other snatches phones from the hands of those talking on or gazing at them.

Using bikes or mopeds to steal phones is a fast-growing crime. The Metropolitan Police says this kind of theft is most common between the hours of 6-10pm, particularly around train and Underground stations. Criminals often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside stations, shopping centres or concert venues.

Often victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones. Criminals on mopeds or bicycles may mount the pavement to grab the phone or snatch it from the road. Sometimes when it’s a moped, a pillion passenger will snatch it.

Police say each device snatched can be sold for around £200, and some thieves manage to take dozens a day out of the hands of pedestrians. What’s more, the value of the stolen device goes up even more if stolen while being used, as it does not then have to be unlocked and can be wiped and sold as a new phone.

Protect your phone against theives


Dr Simon Harding, associate professor of criminology at the University of West London, told the BBC that "phone zombies" help fuel the crime: "If you look at mobile phones five years ago, they were pretty much in our pockets unless we got a phone call.

"Nowadays people are phone zombies. They are on their phone walking along the street, bumping into people, not knowing where they are going."

He has said moped thieving is the "crime of the moment", because it is so easy and lucrative to do.