This piece appeared on VICE in July 2017.
Crime surveys show a steady fall in the number of burglaries and violent crimes. One particular kind of robbery, however, has been on a remarkable rise lately, especially in London: the moped mugging.
It’s a brutally simple scheme. A rider on a scooter or small motorbike slows down to sneak up on a pedestrian. An accomplice on the back snatches their mobile phone. And then they’re off.
Two months ago, Ross McKendrick, a 39-year-old sales manager, had his iPhone 6 nabbed out of his hand by a thief riding pillion only moments from his front door on a quiet residential street in Highgate.
“I was quite shaken-up by it because the driver came right up on the pavement and the guy on the back gave me a shove,” he says. “I know it’s only a phone. It was more about the fact it can happen to you anywhere. These days, you really don’t need something else to be worried about when you’re out and about in London.”
We should of course be cautious about hyping an emerging trend into a full-blown panic, but the statistics on moped muggings in London are pretty astonishing, pointing toward an increasingly commonplace crime.
Read more at VICE.