Street Robbery Awareness Campaign

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The Metropolitan Police Service is reminding Londoners to take some simple measures to help keep their valuables safe in a new awareness campaign launched today, 10 January.

During the post-holiday season, which sees many Londoners sporting new high-value goods, such as smart phones, media players, and gold jewellery the MPS is advising owners to take care when and where they take them out.

While operational activity to tackle street robbery continues, including increased patrols in hotspot areas and pro-active investigations to arrest those responsible, the MPS is asking Londoners to take some steps to help themselves.

MPS Commander Simon Pountain said:
"The MPS takes street robbery very seriously - being robbed is a traumatic experience. However, the public can minimise the chance of it happening by taking some basic measures. When you are out, where possible try to keep any valuables hidden. Smart phones and media players are becoming must-have items for many people - that includes criminals too. They simply see these items as cash.

"Many robberies happen when people check their phones just after leaving a transport hub, or when they are going about their business and may be distracted. Adults who have consumed alcohol and have less awareness of their surroundings are also more vulnerable. We're also aware that young people are targeted, usually by other young people.

"We are not asking the public not to use their phones or media players in public - we are just advising them to be vigilant about where and when they use them. We are here for London, and to help make sure people can go about their daily lives as safely as possible. We are determined to do what we can to stop it happening as well as catching those responsible and bring them to justice."

In October 2010 the MPS launched 'Autumn nights', a high-visibility operation in bus and transport hubs during the half-term and Halloween period. Other operational activity continues across London with more targeted efforts in five key boroughs.

The pan-London marketing campaign will run from 10 January - 13 February and will involve radio, online and poster advertising. The campaign encourages the public to think about when and where they use their valuables. It also highlights how criminals see possessions as cash.
To illustrate how victims can be taken unawares we are releasing CCTV footage of a theft taking place.

The footage, taken on 11 October 2010, captures 'Zarqa', a 20-year-old student from Surrey, being robbed while walking on Creek Road, Greenwich on her way to university. 'Zarqa', who did not want to release her full name, said:
"I was walking to university - it was a bright day around 2pm and by a busy street. I was just calling a friend when this guy snatched my phone from my hand and ran off. It was all over in seconds. I was vaguely aware of a man walking towards me but did not take any notice as he seemed normal.

"I was totally shocked and surprised. When I first came to London I was a bit worried about crime as I don't come from the city, but after a few years I did and still do feel safe. However, I'm a bit more wary now - I don't tend to take my phone or iPod out anymore when I'm in the street, and I'm always telling my friends to do the same."

The offender, Aaron Leon Conway, 25, from Plumstead SE18, was arrested by Greenwich police after he was recognised on CCTV. On 10 December 2010, via Virtual Court at Plumstead police station, he pleaded guilty to this and two other counts of robbery. He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison. (Please note: the second man in the footage was not involved in the robbery).
For more information and crime prevention advice visit www.met.police.uk/crimeprevention (or for young people aged 11-16 visit www.safe.met.police.uk).

January 10, 2011