TfL saw London Underground thefts rise 25 per cent in 2018
Transport for London (TfL) rail services account for almost half of all thefts on trains nationwide, according to data out this week.
A total of 4,448 Tube thefts occurred in 2018, up 25 per cent on 2017's 3,500 incidents, while all TfL services together saw a 27 per cent rise to 4,877 thefts.
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Londoners who regularly used the service were eight times more likely to be pickpocketed than other rail riders across the country, with a rate of more than 12 thefts everyday.
Thefts on TfL's network have risen 55 per cent since 2015, according to the data, obtained via a Freedom of Information request filed by gadget insurance provider Protect Your Bubble.
Siwan Hayward, TfL's director of compliance, policing and on-street operations, said: “We take every crime very seriously, including the increase in thefts reported on the London Underground and some other services.”
“The vast majority are from pickpocketing and we’d like to remind all customers to keep an eye on their belongings and keep bags and rucksacks closed,” Hayward added.
TfL works with police to target theft, with British Transport Police superintendent Ricky Twyford saying that the BTP uses a variety of tactics to target thieves, including “high-visibility patrols on trains and stations and plain clothed officers”.
“The most important thing you can do to stop yourself becoming a victim is to keep valuables on your person at all times and your luggage with you,” Twyford added.
Out of 36 railway operators in the UK, the London Overground placed 14th with 216 thefts recorded on the service last year.
The Docklands Light Railway had 118 recorded thefts last year, with TfL Rail and London Tramlink recording 73 and 22 thefts, respectively.
James Brown, director of Protect Your Bubble, said: “The increasing value of smartphones and other transportable tech, as well as an ever-growing number of tourists visiting the capital, means London’s busy rail and tube networks offer rich pickings for opportunistic criminals.”
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Nationwide, thefts on railways increased in 2018 by 11.3 per cent. Great Western Railway accounted for the largest proportion of thefts outside of London with 560 thefts in 2018.