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Thefts of mobile phones fall to lowest level for a decade

Mobile thefts peaked at 897,000 in 2008/09.

Mobile phone thefts in England and Wales have fallen to their lowest level for a decade, new data suggests.

Some 401,000 mobile phone owners had a device stolen in the year to March 2017, down from 446,000 in the previous 12 months.

The number, equivalent to 0.9% of all mobile owners, is almost half the total for 2006/07, when thefts were 796,000.

It represents a “statistically significant decline”, according to the Office for National Statistics, which compiled the figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

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(PA Graphics)

Mobile thefts peaked at 897,000 in 2008/09 (equivalent to 2.1% of mobile owners).

The figures also show that thefts of phones are most common among young adults.

Among 22 to 24-year-olds, 2.2% – roughly one in 45 people – had a mobile stolen in 2016/17. This is down from 4.3% in 2006/07, however.

Mobiles were involved in 32% of all thefts from the person in 2016/17, down from 51% in 2014/15.

Thefts from a person are defined as items taken from an individual using little or no force.

The average (mean) cost of items stolen during thefts from the person rose from £202 in 2015/16 to £221 in 2016/17, with the middle range (median) cost of items being around £100 in both years.

However, the proportion of more expensive items, valued between £500-£999, stolen also rose significantly compared with a decade ago, from around 3% of thefts from the person in 2006/07 to 16% in 2016/17.

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