Your laptop is more likely to get stolen in Leicester than London

Alright, which one of you thieves moved from London to Leicester?

According to the latest figures from security and communications specialist ViaSat, a thief is more likely to steal electronic devices in Leicestershire or the West Midlands than in the capital.

A series of Freedom of Information requests have shown that thefts of devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets that could store sensitive personal information accounted for 27 per cent of thefts reported to the Metropolitan and City of London police.

On the other hand, they formed 31 per cent of thefts reported to West Midlands Police, and 51 per cent of those in Leicestershire – compared to an average of 19 per cent nationwide

Compared to similar research from a year ago, where London was the undisputed champion of device thefts by number and proportion, other areas of the country are no longer the safe havens they once seemed.

Compared to a similar request the previous year, there was also a noticeable reduction in reported thefts. The Metropolitan and City of London police combined showed that thefts of electronic devices had fallen 37 per cent from the number reported last year to the Metropolitan Police alone. Nationwide, there was a 34 per cent fall.

This coincided with a drop in the number of thefts in total, which fell by 20 per cent in London and 24 per cent nationwide.

Chris McIntosh, CEO ViaSat UK, says the device is not as interesting to thieves as what it contains.

“The simple fact is that, for many thieves, the most tempting target isn’t necessarily the device itself, but what it contains. From access to your bank records; to blackmail; to flat-out identity theft, a lost or stolen device can still damage its owner long after it’s stolen. As the largest city in the UK, with the most visitors, London will have a disproportionate number of thefts. But as we can see from these results, wherever you are in the UK you need to not only be wary of your own devices; but make sure that anyone who records and stores your sensitive data does so responsibly and securely.”

Although he has hailed the reduced number of thefts, he’s still fairly sceptical.

“Two years’ worth of data isn’t yet enough to begin drawing conclusions that our streets are getting safer. And evidently, with thefts of sensitive data still in the tens of thousands, there is still a significant amount of data at risk. While we as individuals should do what we can to ensure that data stored on our personal devices is protected to an appropriate level, we need to expect the same level of commitment from those we entrust our data to. Whether a doctor, a solicitor, a banker or a charity worker, they should be compelled to keep your information under lock and key.”