Criminals increasingly target wealthy foreign tourists in renowned shopping district
Muggings in London’s West End have risen more than three-fold in the past two years, as criminals increasingly target wealthy foreign tourists.
New figures show that the number of thefts from a person rose to 2,806 in the shopping district last year, compared to 796 in 2021.
Theft, which includes shoplifting and pick-pocketing, currently makes up around 60pc of crime in the area around Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, according to figures compiled by the Heart of London Business Alliance.
The industry group represents 600 retailers, restaurants and property owners in the district.
Ros Morgan, chief executive of the group, said: “Retail crime in the West End is not just a threat to businesses but to the entire community and luxury goods are no exception.
“There was a significant spike in shoplifting and a rising number of thefts across the West End in 2023. We have long called for a greater police presence to deter criminal activities and instill a sense of security.”
One retail chief said Bond Street stores were among the most concerned about a rise in crime, particularly at night.
Nickie Aiken, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said the situation had worsened since the end of the pandemic, with criminals using electric bikes to snatch items from people.
She said more police were needed on the streets to help bring down crime rates.
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