INCIDENTS MORE THAN TREBLE IN SOME AREAS IN PERIOD OF JUST THREE YEARS
BY CALUM FRASER
South Londoners are more vulnerable than ever to attackers on mopeds as new statistics show a huge surge in the number of reported crimes.
Wandsworth and Southwark saw the steepest rise as crimes committed on scooters and mopeds have more than doubled since 2013, according to Metropolitan Police figures.
Snatch attacks, where pedestrians’ possessions are targeted in drive-by incidents, have become the most common crime associated with mopeds.
But criminals are also targeting other mopeds – stealing the bikes when they are parked and even assaulting drivers in traffic.
Knives and acid are often used during the attacks.
Deputy chairwoman of the London Assembly Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon, who obtained the 2017 figures, said: “Crimes involving mopeds are rapidly becoming the biggest scourge in many parts of the capital.
“Finding new tactics to prevent and stop these crimes on our streets is essential.
“We need to ensure these figures are quickly reversed, making our streets safer for both local residents and the huge number of visitors and tourists.”
There were 187 incidents recorded in Southwark from January to October 2013. The figure has surged to 584 for the same period this year.
Wandsworth has seen a similarly sharp increase, with the 188 moped attacks recorded in 2013 more than doubling to 413 this year.
Mopeds have become a more popular way to get around the capital, as congestion and insurance prices make cars less appealing.
In response to the rising threat, Wandsworth council is working with the police on an autumn campaign.
Robyn Thomas, head of Wandsworth’s community safety team, said: “As the dark nights draw in, it’s important to do all you can to keep yourself and your home safe.
“Working with our partners in the police, we will be raising awareness of potential dangers and doing all we can to protect our residents.”
‘Moped crime’s becoming the scourge of the capital’
A Met police spokesman said: “Every borough is mobilised to tackle offenders using local knowledge to tailor the policing required for their area. These offenders rely on the unwariness of the public to snatch their phones while they make calls.
“This crime happens in an instant. I urge people to consider using a hands-free device to make a call and do not text or use apps by the roadside, where they are most vulnerable.”
Lambeth recorded 230 moped enabled crimes this year, while Lewisham and Merton saw just over 100 attacks each.
Call Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 s555 111 to report a crime.
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