Mobile Phone thefts have risen by 25 percent since 2010, with London and Cardiff accounting for the highest rate of thefts, according to insurance firm Liverpool and Victoria.
Despite the high number of thefts, police have only been able to recover just one percent of stolen phones since 2010.
The hotspot for mobile phone theft in London is Hyde Park, where 163 crimes have been reported between May and August this year. In Cardiff the worst area for thefts came in Greyfriars Road.
LV state that the ease with which stolen phones can be sold on make them a lucrative target for thieves, with recycling companies a main target for stolen phones. Handsets are also sold on through online auction sites, and shipped out to Africa, Asia and other countries in Europe, where the devices still work, even if they have been registered on the IMEI blacklist.
Smartphones have a particularly high value on the black market, with apps and downloaded content adding to the price of the handset. In addition, thieves will target devices as many people keep personal information on their phone, such as banking details and passwords. Often social networking sites and email accounts are logged in automatically, making it easy for someone to gain further access to your personal information.
LV Managing Director, John O'Roarke, said: “We have seen a real shift in the theft claims over the past decade with thieves preferring to target small, easily portable items such as mobile phones and other gadgets. The latest smartphones are worth hundreds of pounds on the black market and can easily be sold on, making them particularly attractive to opportunistic thieves. The best way to protect yourself from theft is to use a password on your phone, keep it hidden away when you are not using it, and ensure you have adequate insurance for the device”
Pickpocketing is the most common form of mobile phone theft, with one is six of all claims having had their phone taken from their pocket or bag. Eight percent of victims have had the phone snatched from their hand as they were using it, and six percent were mugged. According to the Metropolitan Police, over half of all perpetrators of mobile phone theft were under 19, with the youngest criminal being just 9 years old.