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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
iPods 'fuelling street robbery'
Apple iPod music player
The distinctive leads make iPods easy to spot
The popularity of iPods and hi-tech mobile phones has fuelled a sharp rise in street robbery in London, the Met Police Commissioner has said.

Sir Ian Blair said the bright coloured leads made it easy for criminals to spot the digital music players.

Latest figures for London show a 26.4% increase in robbery in April compared to the same month last year.

Police also blamed the "happy-slapping" craze among schoolchildren for the rise in robberies.

iPods, made by Apple, allow owners to download music using their home computer and store thousands of songs. No-one at Apple was immediately available for comment on Sir Ian's claim.

At a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority on Thursday Sir Ian said: "In street robbery our concern has been around the smaller portable pieces of kit - the new generation of mobile phones and iPods.

The big issue we have to confront is the issue of youth crime and youth culture
Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin

"They have different coloured leads, it is very obvious when someone is wearing an iPod. That is what is fuelling this."

Ten iPods were snatched by muggers in November, compared to 35 in April. So far in May, 52 have been snatched.

Other crimes involving iPods, such as car break-ins and burglaries, have shot up from 178 in November to 395 in May.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin said the "happy slapping" craze was another cause of the rise in street robbery.

"They are mainly schoolboy robberies. The big issue we have to confront is the issue of youth crime and youth culture."

The Met figures showed that gun crime had also risen by 35.4% compared to the same period last year but Sir Ian insisted it was "now coming down again".

Mr Blair said an increase in violent crime of 7.4% in the last 12 months was the result of a rise in the reporting of domestic violence and of alcohol-fuelled disorder.

A slight decrease in robbery in the 12 months ending April 2005 compared to the previous year was also recorded.




SEE ALSO:
Street crime down in London
12 Sep 02 |  England
Street robberies soar by 28%
12 Jul 02 |  UK News
Muggings soar in London
17 Apr 02 |  England
The war against muggers
21 Dec 01 |  UK News


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