A report published by British Transport Police (BTP) alleges an increasing number of thefts on London Underground in the past three years.
According to the report, the rate of thefts has increased by more than 80%. In 2016-17, the estimated number of thefts was 3,730, which increased to 6,825 in 2018-19. Moreover, the report suggests that the Piccadilly and Central lines had the highest number of thefts, with 1,125 in the last year.
The report said it was unaware of the growing number of thefts, but was drawing measures to abate such incidences. According to a source released by BBC London, the theft property included cases of pickpocketing and robbery of bags.
As per a statement by an undercover BTP detective: “It’s got a lot busier lately, a lot busier. We’re arresting a lot more people. In 14 years of doing pickpockets, I’ve never known it to be this busy.”
Furthermore he adds, that the undercover teams try to stop the theft before it is being attempted. The teams work across the Underground, looking out for thefts and perpetrators. However, since the thefts were carried out by well-organized groups, it was difficult for the teams to track down crime in the right positions.
In their account, the team were not sure about the reasons for the rise in theft incidences, however owning to statements of the people under arrest, they told that they had entered the country from Europe to pickpocket and that the thefts were because they saw it as a “last chance saloon” because of Brexit.
In the wake of the situation, Det Insp Bob Stokoe said: “I don’t think we can deny that it is incredibly disappointing that the numbers have gone up but the London Underground is still an incredibly safe environment. There are in excess of five million passenger journeys a day so it’s four crimes of theft for every million journeys.” Stokoe is the head of theft of passenger property on BTP.
Moreover, he said that by means of a new text report system, it had now become easier to report a theft. This could be attributed as a reason for the growing number of theft reports.