'Patrols stepped up' amid spate of phone thefts in Belsize Park
- Credit: Natalie Coutts
Fears over safety have been raised following a series of phone thefts in Belsize Park.
Patrols are being stepped up after a number of offences in the area, most involving thieves on bicycles, according to the Met Police.
Incidents around Haverstock Hill, England’s Lane and Belsize Park station were reported in recent weeks on social media.
Some reported two men, wearing balaclavas and dressed in black, snatching mobile phones from pedestrians after dark.
Abigail Barnett, 26, told this newspaper she was walking down Lambolle Road in the early evening when she was approached by two men on bikes. She said her phone was grabbed out of her hand before the thieves cycled away.
The 26-year-old moved to Belsize in January and said she felt safe in the area, until the recent mugging.
“Now I walk to and from the station with a rape alarm,” she told the Ham&High. “I feel so unsettled. The police need to take it more seriously.”
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Natalie Coutts, 45, was the victim of an attempted mugging when thieves jumped onto the pavement in front of her, but her phone was in her pocket at the time and they fled.
She did not report the incident, and said: “It’s very well known that the police are not going to do anything about phone thefts, and because they aren’t dealing with it, it’s being done more. It’s so pressing.”
Nazia Ahmed, 27, said police need to ensure local crimes are dealt with appropriately, including phone thefts.
“It’s all part of the bigger problem,” she said. “These crimes appear to be taking place more frequently. I hope the local police can start taking action to tackle it.”
A police spokesperson said: "We are aware of reports of incidents where phones have been snatched in and around the Belsize area in recent weeks. On most occasions the suspects have been riding bicycles. Officers have been speaking to local residents and are aware of their concerns.
"Patrols will be stepped up and work is ongoing to identify those involved in this criminality.
"This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in Camden and our officers will work tirelessly to apprehend those involved.
"If you can help, please contact your local neighbourhood policing team or dial 101. In an emergency please dial 999.
"Crime prevention advice can be found on our website: https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/protect-yourself-from-crime/protect-your-phone/."