Over the last few years, mopeds have been used to commit crimes such as phone snatches, jewellery store raids and even acid attacks. While the crime wave has spread to other major cities such as Manchester, London remains the epicentre. And with an number of high-profile muggings in the capital recently, including comedian Michael McIntyre who was robbed of his Rolex watch on the school run, it continues to hit the national headlines.
So why are criminals choosing two wheels?
One of the biggest attractions of moped crime is how easy it is to make a quick get-a-way. Police have faced many challenges in their ability to catch criminals on mopeds due to their ability to weave through traffic, mount pavements, or speed down small alleys. To help combat this, the police introduced slimline motorcycles that can be driven down narrow streets last year.
Additionally, due to the increase in these crimes, rules on police vehicle pursuits are to be overhauled meaning police drivers will have more legal protection if they are involved in a crash. Proposals also aim to dispel the myth that officers cannot pursue riders who aren’t wearing helmets.
It is extremely easy for criminals to get their hands on a moped or bike. Typically, all it takes is a simple twist of the handle bars to break the steering lock, then the moped can be wheeled away. Once the criminal has crossed the wires, they are ready to go.
In the year up to May 2018, more than 15,000 scooters and motorbikes were reported stolen in London: this figure highlights how easy it is for criminals to get hold of them. With so many stolen two-wheeled vehicles around, it’s very easy for criminals to get their hands on one to carry out thefts, robberies and other moped crimes.
We live in a society where many people carry around expensive and valuable belongings – sometimes in plain sight of criminals. Our smartphones are one of the biggest targets for criminals and it is crucial that we protect ourselves and our belongings:
Always be aware of your surroundings and ensure that your valuables are hidden away, as this will make you less vulnerable to criminals. It is all too easy for a mugger to snatch your bag or phone if you are distracted.
One of the simplest and most effective ways is to avoid using your phone or taking out valuables when you’re out and about to prevent an opportunist thief from grabbing them. Also consider spreading out your valuable belongings so they’re not all in the same bag or pocket. If you do need to use your phone, try to nip inside a shop or cafe to text or make a call. Listening to music could also mean you’re more likely to be caught off guard, so where possible unplug and try to keep your wits about you.
For bigger items such as laptops, you could consider disguising them in a backpack rather using a laptop bag or letting them stick out the top of a handbag.
• Track It: Prepare for your phone being stolen by downloading one of the phone tracking applications offered by IOS and Android. This way, you will be able to locate your phone if the worst happens.
• Change Critical Passwords: Immediately change any important passwords to applications you have such as social media accounts, online banking and email.
• Remote-Wipe: If you’re sure that your phone has been stolen and will not be returned, wipe the device. This way your important information and details will not be used.
The Met has launched a new campaign to encourage drivers to lock, chain and cover their scooters and motorbikes. While security measures may not guarantee your bike won’t be stolen, using multiple measures can make it less attractive to criminals:
• Lock It: Wherever you park your moped, ensure that you secure it. Always use the steering lock and remove the keys, even if you are close by. You can also use a disc lock on the front disc, a grip lock on the brake and throttle controls or a D lock on the front wheel.
• Chain It: Using a chain lock through the back wheel (the front wheel can be removed) can stop thieves breaking the steering lock and wheeling it away.
• Cover It: The less that your moped is seen, the less chance it has of being stolen. Using a cover instantly makes it less attractive and provides a time-consuming barrier for would-be thieves. When at home, try to keep it in a garage or shed, or at least a well-lit area that’s overlooked.
Also consider fitting an alarm as a deterrent to thieves. Tracking devices are also now commonly available on the market; although it may be a major investment, it is worth considering if you own an expensive bike.
Churchill Security is a national security company offering a wide range of security solutions in London and across the UK. Whether you’re looking for security guard hire, CCTV monitoring or security consultancy, we can help. Get in touch today.