Londoners suffer more thefts of electronic devices than anywhere else in the UK.
According to a Freedom of Information request, of 290,651 thefts involving computer equipment reported by police forces across the entire UK, 42 per cent were reported by the Metropolitan Police. The total number of thefts of electronic devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets, which could store sensitive personal information, accounted for 34 per cent of thefts in London, compared to 17% for the rest of the country.
Chris McIntosh, CEO ViaSat UK, said that as the amount of sensitive information held on electronic devices is increasing exponentially, having such a device stolen isn’t simply a loss in itself; it increasingly opens up the potential of much worse to follow.
“From bank account details to health information and even personal secrets, our pictures, emails, texts and files can reveal a huge amount about us,” he said. “The simple fact is that, in London, you are twice as likely to have this information stolen from you as in the rest of the country.”
ViaSat contacted each of the 46 police forces in the UK to request statistics on thefts between March 1st 2013 and February 28th 2014 and, in total, 35 police forces were able to provide the information required.
McIntosh said: “There are several reasons why London may have reported such a high rate of theft of electronic goods. Firstly, as the wealthiest and most populous area of the country, there will be far more opportunities to take these items. Second, the nature of people’s work and travel within the city means that they will both be carrying computers, tablets or smartphones more often and also be more at risk of theft when they do so.
“Since there is no telling what data could potentially be stored on such a device, our advice is simple. If you live in London, work in London, are travelling to London, or are doing business with London-based people, either make sure that personal data is protected or avoid sharing it.”