iPhones most at risk of theft, says government report

September 7th 2014

New research published by the Home Office has revealed the extent of mobile phone theft in England and Wales, and the handsets most at risk.

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Apple's iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S models are the most targeted, followed by the Blackberry 9790. Samsung's Galaxy and HTC handsets also feature on the index. Women and 14 to 24-year-olds are the groups most likely to be the victims of mobile phone theft.

The Mobile Phone Theft Ratio was issued by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier today and has been compiled with the Home Office's Behavioural Insights Team in consultation with the mobile phone industry. The figures are based on crime data between August 2012 and January 2014. It also reveals that The likelihood of a phone being targeted by thieves is driven by a number of factors, including the overall desirability of the phone itself, the ease of access to valuable personal data stored on it, and the perceived risk of the phone being tracked once it has been stolen.

People are most likely to have their phones stolen directly from their person, either through pickpocketing, or when the handset is left unattended. Earlier this year, Get Safe Online reported on the jailing of a London gang who stole their victims' phones by snatching them from a powerful moped, sometimes using force to prize them away.

Ms May said that while crime had fallen under the coalition government, the level of mobile phone theft remained "a concern". According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, there were 742,000 victims of mobile phone theft in 2012-13. In London alone, nearly 100,000 phones were reported stolen in 2013.

She hoped the new index would inform people about the risks, saying: "People are increasingly carrying their lives in their pockets, with bank details, emails and other sensitive personal information easily accessible through mobile phones. This is why it is vital that government, police and industry work together to tackle this crime."

She added that the industry is taking action by introducing features that enabled tracking and remote wiping of devices if stolen or lost.

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