Students: ‘snatching’ now accounts for 1 in 4 mobile phone thefts

Image: Metropolitan Police

Over a quarter of students who’ve had mobiles stolen have fallen victim to thieves swooping on the street, according to research by gadget insurance provider Protect Your Bubble.

The scourge of handheld theft has received increasing attention, with shock footage of moped-riding duos snatching phones from unsuspecting victims airing on news bulletins and gaining thousands of views online.

The new survey suggests a significant proportion of opportunistic phone theft victims are students, with 26.1% reporting they either had a device grabbed from their hand or were pickpocketed.

Says James Brown, director of gadget insurance provider Protect Your Bubble: 

“All too often the loss of students’ phones is dismissed as carelessness during a lively night out. Our research shows a significant number have in fact been caught up in the recent trend of high street snatching. Many students struggle financially, and phone theft only adds to their woes, which underlines the importance of appropriate insurance.”

While 35% of students were found to have a high-value cache of tech at university (over £1000-worth), theft isn’t the only way students are parted from their phones or gadgets.

The poll shows that innocent loss accounts for the disappearance of various devices, with headphones being the most commonly misplaced item at 70.1%, followed by MP3 players at 13%.

Meanwhile laptops (62.6%) and headphones (25.6%) were the items most likely to have been damaged by students, who blamed dropping (34.9%), water (27.4%) and stepping on their items (19%) as the top three reasons for gadget damage.

  • Over a quarter (26.1%) of student mobile theft victims have had phones snatched or pickpocketed on the street
  • High-value targets: a third (35%) of students have over £1000-worth of tech at university
  • Nearly three quarters (70.1%) of students who’ve misplaced an item have lost headphones – the most common item to lose
  • Dropping, water and stepping on devices are the three main reasons for damage
  • One in ten (9.1%) students admit sustaining damage to gadgets with a total value of over £1000

Food and drink also clearly pose a high risk to gadgets, with individual students reporting their items being damaged by everything from wine, to tea, coffee and even banana. An eye-opening 9.1% of students admitted they’d sustained damage to gadgets with a total value of over £1000.

Adds Protect Your Bubble’s James Brown:

“Students are absolutely dependent on tech at university and despite advances, there are myriad simple ways gadgets can be seriously damaged. Everything from a quick cup of coffee to a banana could result in the need for expensive repairs.

“Our research shows that investing in insurance makes perfect sense, especially for students who would struggle to absorb unforeseen costs.”

Chris Price
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