Rail crime down but property thefts up

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Crime on the railways has fallen for a ninth successive year but incidents of theft of passenger property have soared.

There was a 2 per cent dip in offences in 2012/13 but a rise of 16 per cent in theft of property from passengers, British Transport Police (BTP) reported.

The property theft increase has been largely driven by a rise in incidents in and around London, with thieves targeting mobile devices in particular.

Criminals have gone for smartphones and tablets and there has been organised pickpocketing activity, BTP said.

There was also a rise – of 2.5 per cent – in incidents of violence against the person in 2012/13 compared with 2011/12 – the first increase in this category for six years.

But sexual offences fell 8.3 per cent, criminal damage was down 12.3 per cent and theft of railway property plunged 18.9 per cent.

BTP Chief Constable Andy Trotter said: “2012/13 has been an exceptional year in our history, with the force playing a crucial role in the success of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

“At the same time, we have taken care of business as usual and reduced crime for the ninth year in a row. I think that is a very good performance and represents great value for money, particularly in the context of a budget reduction in real terms of 14 per cent since 2008.”

He went on: “Increases in theft of passenger property, particularly those targeting smartphones and tablets, reflect the growing problem in London and the UK.

“We have made great inroads into the problem of cable theft, which has been a major disruption factor on the network. This year cable crime was down 47 per cent, building on a 13 per cent reduction last year.”