London's moped crime hotspots revealed: Check your area

By Alice Evans and Tom Calver
BBC News

image source, Met Police
image captionMany offenders take advantage of people distracted by their mobile phones

The number of offences carried out by criminals using mopeds in London has increased by 30 times in five years.

Data obtained by the BBC shows a jump from 827 offences in 2012 to more than 23,000 last year.

High car insurance premiums and the boom in delivery services such as Deliveroo have increased the number of mopeds, an expert said.

Police insisted they had not lost control of moped crime but "there was more work to do".

During the period covered by the figures, more than 40% of such offences happened in just two boroughs.

A Met Police superintendent said the surge in Camden and Islington was "disappointing", but new measures were helping to reduce offending.

"Moped-enabled crime" describes offences carried out by people on mopeds or scooters, including drive-by thefts of pedestrians' phones and bags.

Use our tool to see how badly your neighbourhood is affected.

Moped Crimes in London

Oxford Street, West end

  • 4th worst out of 654 wards
  • 1,393 moped crimes in the last five years
  • 756 of them were in 2017
  • 113 moped crimes committed on Market Place
    (West End's most dangerous road since 2012)

Types of moped crimes for West End

Theft and handling: 1100
Robbery: 187
Burglary: 85
Violence: 11
Criminal damage: 7
Other: 3

Camden Town with Primrose Hill, Camden

  • 9th worst out of 654 wards
  • 752 moped crimes in the last five years
  • 622 of them were in 2017
  • 103 moped crimes committed on Regent's Park Road
    (Camden Town with Primrose Hill's most dangerous road since 2012)

Types of moped crimes for Camden

Theft and handling: 649
Robbery: 78
Burglary: 10
Violence: 8
Criminal damage: 5
Other: 2

South Kensington Museums, Brompton & Hans Town

  • 58th worst out of 654 wards
  • 161 moped crimes in the last five years
  • 105 of them were in 2017
  • 10 moped crimes were each committed on Egerton Garden Mews, Lucan Place and Sloane Street
    (Brompton & Hans Town's most dangerous roads since 2012)

Types of moped crimes for Brompton & Hans Town

Theft and handling: 73
Robbery: 61
Burglary: 18
Violence: 6
Criminal damage: 3
Other: 0

Buckingham Palace, St James's

  • 20th worst out of 654 wards
  • 386 moped crimes in the last five years
  • 166 of them were in 2017
  • 16 moped crimes were committed on Kean Street
    (St James's's most dangerous road since 2012)

Types of moped crimes for St James's

Theft and handling: 314
Robbery: 34
Burglary: 21
Violence: 10
Criminal damage: 6
Other: 1

Southbank, Cathedrals

  • 22nd worst out of 654 wards
  • 331 moped crimes in the last five years
  • 192 of them were in 2017
  • 26 moped crimes were committed on Southwark Street
    (Cathedrals's most dangerous road since 2012)

Types of moped crimes for Cathedrals

Theft and handling: 265
Robbery: 45
Burglary: 15
Violence: 3
Criminal damage: 3
Other: 0

Det Supt Caroline Haines, who leads the operation tackling moped crime in Camden and Islington, was asked if her team had a handle on the issue.

She said: "Yes we do, absolutely. Yes, there is a significant increase on last year overall, and that is very disappointing.

"Since January we've deployed a number of new tactics that are now starting to see dividends.

"But we're not done yet, and we're not complacent. We do understand there's a lot more work to do."

image source, Getty Images
image captionAn increased number of scooters and mopeds on the streets has helped fuel the phenomenon

She said hotspots arose around transport hubs, where commuters and tourists alike were often distracted as they checked their mobile phones or looked up directions.

A plentiful supply of main roads leading in and out of London also provide easy escape routes for offenders.

Det Supt Haines said new tactics to tackle the issue include training more officers in pursuing offenders on mopeds, using remote-controlled spikes to puncture the tyres of suspects' bikes, and educating members of the public to be more aware of their surroundings.

She also urged moped riders to make their vehicles theft-proof, due to the number of stolen vehicles used to commit crimes.

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Map built using Carto. If you can't see the map, tap or click here. The data for the City of London Police area is incomplete.

image captionKirat Nandra broke her ribs and her hand when she was hit by a moped as thieves grabbed her bag

Kirat Nandra, 51, broke her ribs and hand and got concussion when she was hit and dragged along a pavement by two people on a moped in September 2017.

She was mugged on North Road, half a mile from Highgate Hill - the worst street in London for moped crimes.

"I didn't actually know what had happened to me. All I heard was my friend shouting my name, and I was being dragged," she said.

"I remember looking up, and realising the handles of my bag had got caught in the zip of my leather jacket. And I'd got tangled.

"It was so quick, so nobody could do anything."

image source, Kirat Nandra
image captionMs Nandra suffered severe bruising after being attacked by "thugs" on North Road

Ms Nandra managed to pull herself free just before the moped swerved back on to the road in front of other traffic.

Her handbag, two phones, cash and bank cards were all taken.

The offenders, who wore dark clothes and had their faces covered, have not been caught because of a lack of evidence.

"I don't want to start pointing fingers or blaming, but something, somewhere, is going horribly wrong," Ms Nandra said.

Det Supt Haines said she was "sorry" to hear Ms Nandra's case was dropped, adding that her team was "absolutely committed" to bringing moped criminals to justice.

image captionDet Supt Caroline Haines says she has a handle on the issue in Camden and Islington, despite the "disappointing" surge last year
image source, PA
image captionRemote-controlled spikes are used to puncture the tyres of suspects' vehicles

Ms Nandra, who describes herself as a strong and confident person, said she felt "ruined" after the attack.

"Psychologically, it's scarred me," she said.

"I'll never be the same again."

She had almost two months either off work or working part-time as she struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

She still has anxiety attacks, fears going out alone and has moved away from the area.

"I'll be OK, but I'll never be back to what I was before. I'll always have that fear in the back of my head," she said.

media captionStories of moped crime from victims and police

Dr Simon Harding, a criminology expert from the University of West London, said the surge was partly due to criminal gangs using changes in public behaviour to their advantage.

The high cost of car insurance and the proliferation of food or goods delivery services such as Deliveroo meant there were more mopeds on the streets than there used to be, he said.

Stealing a moped was simple, as was plucking an expensive device out of a distracted person's hands, he added.

Dr Harding said street gangs on estates in north London were partly why this area has been so badly hit.

"We also know both Camden and Islington have a high number of small alleyways and canal paths - those are places that are very easy for people on scooters or bikes to access, but very difficult for the police to follow," he said.

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