BBC reports that offences rose from three to 291 in a two-year period.
Oxford Street is London’s worst street for ride-by moped thefts, according to a report from BBC News.
Citing data from the Metropolitan Police, the report claims that thefts on the capital’s busiest shopping streets have increased six-fold over the past two years.
The BBC said Oxford Street saw 291 offences in the 12 months from November 2016 to October 2017 – up from 13 in 2014-15 – while thefts on Regent Street went from three to 91 over the same period.
The report also said that of the 848 moped-enabled thefts, burglaries and robberies at 14 major retail areas in the capital since November 2014, 79 percent were theft or attempted theft of personal property.
Moped crime has been a growing concern for Londoners, with more than 15,200 moped-enabled thefts and robberies recorded in the 12 months between July 1 2016 and June 30 2017 – up from just under 4,700 in the 12 months previously.
However, in October the Met said the number of offences on scooters had fallen by almost a quarter (24 percent) between July and September 2017.
Dr Simon Harding, associate professor of criminology at the University of West London, told the BBC that moped thefts – particularly of mobile phones – are ‘ridiculously easy’ because people are now ‘phone zombies’.
‘If you look at mobile phones five years ago, they were pretty much in our pockets unless we got a phone call,’ he said. ‘Nowadays people are phone zombies. They are on their phone walking along the street, bumping into people, not knowing where they are going.’
A statement on the Metropolitan Police website said: ‘Criminals often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside tube stations, shopping centres or concert venues. Often, victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones.
‘While most thefts happen between 6 and 10 at night, criminals operate during the day so always look out for what’s going on around you.’