Home Marine InsuranceCorruption 66% rise in thefts on tube network as December RMT strike hits

66% rise in thefts on tube network as December RMT strike hits

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66% rise in thefts on tube network as December RMT strike hits

  • Analysis of figures from the British Transport Police showed 1,005 thefts took place on tube lines in December 2019
  • BTP recorded a total of 1,596 across all its transport networks in December last year
  • This included 977 thefts from bags, or of property carried by people as they travelled
  • The Central Line was the worst affected, accounting for 13% of the total, followed by the Victoria and Piccadilly lines 
  • Warning from buzzvault for people to check their belongings are insured – and secure  

As December’s 27-day strike from the RMT union forced commuters to seek alternative routes to work, tube passengers suffered a 66% increase in thefts on the network during the month last year. 

The figures have been obtained from the British Transport Police by home insurance provider buzzvault under the Freedom of Information Act. They show that across the Victoria, Central, Bakerloo, Piccadilly, Northern, Metropolitan, Jubilee, Waterloo and City, Hammersmith and City and District line, a total of 1,005 thefts were recorded. This compares to 605 in December 2018 – an increase of 66%.

Across all transport networks covered by the BTP – including the DLR, London Overground and Northern Rail – there were 1,596 recorded thefts, up from 1,183 in 2018. The most common type of theft recorded was ‘theft from person’ – either property carried by someone or taken from their bag. A total of 977 of this type of theft occurred, with the most (130) taking place on the Victoria Line. There were also 104 occasions where whole items of luggage were taken.

The Victoria Line was second only to the Central Line in experiencing the highest number of thefts overall (167 and 206 respectively), followed by the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern Lines. However, there was no respite on 12 December when the strike held off for the General Election: 78 thefts occurred in total, up from 50 in 2018.

Becky Downing, CEO and founder of buzzvault: “Tubes and trains are the perfect playground for thieves, particularly if they are unusually crowded and chaotic as they were during December’s strike. Commuters and tourists can be easily distracted and perfect targets for thieves dipping a hand into a bag, or even taking whole items of luggage. Aside from keeping a close eye on valuables, check your home insurance includes out of home cover so that if you find something has been taken, you can claim it back on your policy.”

Thefts per tube line until 24 December 2019

Tube line Number of thefts
Victoria Line 167
Central Line 206
Bakerloo Line 69
Piccadilly Line 167
Northern Line 110
Metropolitan Line 31
Jubilee Line 130
Waterloo and City 1
Hammersmith and City 50
District Line 58


Figures from a Freedom of Information request to the British Transport Police into thefts recorded between 1-24 December 2018 and 1-24 December 2019.

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