Moped-enabled crime was frequently headline news back in 2017: the typical story focussing on helmeted youths on stolen mopeds snatching mobile phones or doing smash and grab raids on jewellery shops.
In the summer of 2017 it seemed like no one was safe from this mobile-threat – even Michael Macintyre had his Range Rover window smashed and his watch stolen. But celebrities were just the tip of the victim iceberg: at its peak moped-criminals were targetting over 50 victims a day
However, Moped-enabled crime has more than halved since its peak in 2017, and so it would seem that the police and other agencies have responded effectively with appropriate policies and been successful in keeping this type of crime under control.
To my mind this seems to be a great example of the successful application of several right realist policies of crime control, a combination of target hardening and a more ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to dealing with moped-criminals.
Statistics on Moped-Enabled Crime
The number of moped-enabled crimes rose rapidly
Police recorded crime stats are quite dramatic: with an approximate 5 times increase in moped-enable theft being recorded from the beginning of 2016 to the middle of 2017, from when we see a correspondingly rapid decline.
According to Full Fact, some of rapid increase in 20187 was due to improved recording practices, but
How do we Explain the (Rapid) Decline in Moped-Enabled Crime?
This seems to be a straightforward case of the police adopting tougher ‘right realist’ style control measures.
- Firstly, and most dramatically, they have adopted the policy of ramming escaping moped thieves, apparently getting over their concern about being prosecuted for harming these criminals.
- Secondly, they have introduced other, more sophisticated ‘chase’ technologies such as slimline bikes and remote control stinger devices to puncture tyres.
- Thirdly, the courts are adopting tough measures to deal with some moped criminals, as evidenced here with the case of the moped gang who received a 67 year prison sentence between them.
- Fourthly, there have been education/ awareness campaigns to encourage moped users to enhance their bike security, and the general public to be more aware when using their mobiles.
Limitations of right realist crime control techniques
Moped-enabled crime still remains at a relatively high level compared to 2016, which possible reflects one of main limitations of right realist techniques of crime control: they don’t address the underlying causes of crime.
IF left-leaning perspectives such as Left Realism are correct, then the stock of people who might engage in moped-enable theft are still out there – those who are marginalised and relatively deprived and who lack the means to earn ‘serious money’…..
It follows that police control tactics such as those outlined above will only work as long as the government funding is in place to pay for it!
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