Tube's post-pandemic crime surge hits new levels

Stations popular with tourists worst areas for theft and robbery, Transport for London figures show

Crime on the London Underground is still significantly higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic, figures show. Reuters
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Crime on the London Underground continues to surge, with the rate of some offences now three times higher than before the pandemic, figures released by Transport for London have shown.

Data showed more than 10,000 crimes were reported on the Tube network from December last year to May, a 39 per cent increase from the pre-pandemic average.

This included more than 5,370 incidents of theft and 2,832 counts of violence or serious public order.

Meanwhile, crimes such as robbery were now more than 300 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic average, with 383 incidents on the London Underground in the past three months. About 43 per cent of robberies were committed on the trains and 53 per cent at stations.

Areas with significant shopper footfall, including Bond Street, Oxford Street and Stratford, were the stations with the highest number of thefts, according to the Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Report.

Sexual offences were down significantly, with 382 offences recorded in the past six months.

The biannual report warned that while all offences were up 29 per cent across all modes of transport, the number of passengers was down about 14 per cent, creating a higher risk of becoming a victim of crime overall.

Transport authorities also noted an increase in crime on the £19 billion ($23 billion) Elizabeth Line since the start of the year. It fully opened up to passengers in May 2022, but was operational before this date.

About a third of people said that they have felt worried about personal security on the capital's transport network in the past six months.

The most cited worrying incidents on the Tube network was overcrowding, seeing someone begging and being a victim of unwanted sexual behaviour.

Seventeen per cent of people said a worrying incident had stopped them from using public transport completely or temporarily, though this figure has declined since the Covid-19 outbreak in January 2020.

The data showed that women worried more than men about their personal safety, with threatening behaviour and being the target of unwanted sexual behaviour their biggest concerns.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of security, policing and enforcement, said: “We have been actively promoting the importance of reporting crime, especially crimes that are underreported such as hate crime, sexual offences and harassment, and workplace violence and aggression, which has contributed to the increase in recorded crime figures.

“We are seeing an increase in robbery and theft offences which reflect London-wide and national trends. We will continue to work closely with the police to ensure that our transport network remain a safe environment to work and travel.”

Updated: July 13, 2023, 10:21 AM