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Reducing Mobile Phone Theft

29th Mar 2016

Last week the Home Office published the second edition of “Reducing Mobile Phone Theft and Improving Security”, a report which details mobile phone crime in the UK and how it changes over time.

A core part of this report is based on BIT’s analysis of data provided by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The data cover all mobile phone theft reported to the MPS in London in 2015. You can read the full report for more detail, but the key findings are that:

  • Reported mobile phone theft has fallen by approximately 20% since 2014.
  • Reported mobile phone theft falls in the Summer, but this does not appear to be attributable to school holidays. There is also a large fall at Christmas.
  • Apple and Samsung are the most common makes of phone among those reported as stolen, between them making up 81% of all thefts.

Weekly totals of reported mobile phone thefts in 2015

Weekly totals

In addition to these findings, BIT has also produced a second edition of the Mobile Phone Risk Ratio, which calculates a measure of ‘excess’ thefts of phones, compared to how many we would expect to be stolen if thefts were random across different makes and models of phones – this allows us to say which phones are most likely to be targeted by thieves. The figure below shows the new version of the index.

The Mobile Phone Theft Ratio 2015: Top 20 most likely mobile phones to be targeted by thieves


Compared with the previous edition, there are a few notable changes. Most strikingly, the HTC M8 appears to be the most targeted phone compared to its availability. We also find that, compared with the previous index, which was dominated by Apple phones, both Samsung and Apple share the 2nd to 8th places, suggesting that a wider variety of phones are being targeted, even though reported mobile phone crime has fallen in general.