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Travel Insurance Direct is warning travellers to take extra care in London this northern summer due to an alarming increase in violent crime.
So-called moped gangs – youths riding small-capacity motorcycles and motor scooters – armed with hunting knives are attacking pedestrians and motorists and stealing valuables.
In one recent attack, Britain’s highest-paid comedian, Michael McIntyre was robbed of his Rolex watch. The moped thieves pulled alongside his Range Rover, smashed the driver’s window with a hammer and stole his watch – while McIntyre’s 10-year old son was in the passenger seat.
The incidence of moped crime has risen 1000% in three years according to reports of police statistics.
TID is warning Australians traveling to London to exercise extreme care. They advise against wearing valuable jewelry or watches and keeping mobile phones out of sight – especially while driving.
“These are the types of warnings we issue for some of the most dangerous destinations in the world such as Rio in Brazil and Caracas in Venezuela. To have to do it for London is shocking.” Said TID Travel Safety expert Phil Sylvester.
Media reports reveal the attacks have occurred all over London including Hampstead, Islington, Dagenham, Maida Vale, Hackney, Stoke Newington, and one spree of 100 crimes through the boroughs of Camden, Chelsea, Kensington and Westminster. The gangs have also conducted smash-and-grab raids on jewelry stores on Regent Street.
Unrelated to the moped gangs is an alarming increase in murders and stabbings across London. The city’s murder rate exceeded New York’s for the first time in February 2018. Newsweek reports, up to April 2018 there had been 55 murder investigations launched by London police.
“Lots of these incidents are gang-related and don’t involve tourists,” said Phil Sylvester “but it is indicative of the rise in weapons being carried around London. It’s a volatile situation.”
How to stay safe