As if commuters do not have enough to contend with; fares continue to rise, services continue to become fewer and less reliable, and it seems they have to contend with loss of their belongings as well! Thefts of iPads, tablets and Kindles on Britain’s railways have soared this year, while thefts of laptops and computers has decreased.
This year, there has been a 10% increase in the number of iPad, tablet and Kindle thefts reported across the country’s railway network, recent statistics has shown. Thefts of these items have been increasing year on year since 2008, according to the British Transport Police statistics. Of the 949 reported iPad, tablet and Kindle thefts this year, only 2% were recovered by their owners.
Meanwhile, there were 22% fewer laptops and computers stolen on trains this year compared with last year. Thefts of laptops and computers has decreased year on year since 2010: of the 1,061 items stolen this year, just 3% were reclaimed. It appears that laptops and computers require more effort to gain access to, and their resale value is a lot less since tablets and Kindles emerged – even their legitimate sales are falling. It therefore makes sense to any self-respecting thief to steal items with a higher resale value!
Password protection and other features help with reducing the scale of damage which can happen when your electronic devices are stolen, but the potential offender does not know this at the time of theft and so this is not really a deterrent until people stop buying stolen goods. With the increase in cloud services, less valuable irreplaceable data is actually held on the machine itself.
The good news is that there has been a decrease in the number of mobile phones reported stolen by commuters this year compared with last. Before that, the number of mobile phone theft had been increasing each year since 2009, whilst this year 6,436 phones were stolen, of which 2% were reclaimed. It would appear that so few are actually returned to their owners because people insure their phones lose interest and have no legal claim once the insurance pays out! The insurance sector is looking into mobile phone claims, but often they just write it off as a loss.
Now that there is an explosion of shiny new devices on the market, it appears that these are proving a top target for thieves on the transport network. Although the statistics for theft have dropped on the rail network for the 9th year running, the targeting of high-tech devices such as smartphones and tablets – as well as organised pick-pocketing – has created a rise in theft offences.
The BTP launched an initiative earlier in the year called Operation Magnum in a bid to crackdown on pickpockets, gadget-grabbers and luggage thieves across the network. It appears this initiative is having a positive impact as theft across England, Scotland and Wales between April and October this year are down by 6.1%. Operation Magnum will continue over the festive holidays to cover this busy period.
At Westhill Insurance Services we can advise on all types of insurance, including travel and home and contents insurance. Some policies will cover IT equipment, such as smartphones and tablets, when they are not in the home, so it is worth checking with your insurance company to see exactly what is included in your contents insurance and to see whether you need to purchase separate insurance to cover your belongings when out and about. Our experienced and friendly team can also advise you on vehicle, business and all manner of ‘unusual’ insurances, such as flood plain insurance, thatched roof insurance and many, many more specialist requirements. Just pick up the phone – as an independent insurance company we will shop around to find the best deal to suit you and your budget.
Keep alert when on public transport and keep your belongings close to you – especially in the run up to Christmas when traditionally the pick-pockets become more active. For ladies, handbags with zip fasteners and straps which go across the body are safest and for gentlemen, make sure that wallets and cash cannot be easily removed from jacket and trouser pockets.