Our Safer Neithbourhood Team at Holborn Police station currently advise you to not use your mobile phone in the street unless you really need to.
Here's a local map of robberies in the first week of May this year.
The spate of scooter and bike enabled crime seems to be getting worse and worse. HV has witnessed a number of recent roberies and night break ins. One of the notable things is how fast the criminal operate - split seconds; and another is how violent they are.
Walking on the pavement isn't safe, the bikes and scooters zoom up wherever you are. All they need is to see you using your phone.
Spotting the theives
It can be difficult because they're so fast, but here are a few tips: High-revving scooters, generally two people, often the number plate has been removed (a key sign), and often the pillion passenger is NOT wearing a helmet (another key sign), riding fast and weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring the red traffic lights, driving on the pavement, and through no entry signs. These are violent people - do not attempt to engage with them. They are often armed with knives or hammers and would not think twice about injuring you if you're getting in their way.
When you feel it's safe to use your phone call 999 and report what you've seen. The thing the police will be intersted in is what happened, where and which direction did they head off in. Was there a number plate, and can you remember the number. What clothing were they wearing - type and colour - and what colour were their helmets - and if one of the wasn't wearing one, what colour of motor scooters - anything to aid identifcation.
In HV's experience they police will always arrive too late to catch them in the act, but the network of CCTV cameras can be useful in tracking them and perhaps finding them still stealing phones a short while later. It's always worth calling it in.
Lobby for an increase in police resources
The last two times HV phoned the police on the 999 number, they took between 3 and 4 mins to answer - and that was at 4am. The scooters were long gone not only by the time the police answered the emergecny number, but also by the time they arrived - about 7mins.
The cuts to local policing have left us vulnerable. It's a fundamental issue. HV recommends you lobby Keir Starmer, our MP, and get him to see if he can do something about it. Here's his email address, and don't forget to include your full postal address and postcode so he knows you are a Holborn & St Pancras constituant: firstname.lastname@example.org