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How to Stop Mobile Phone Theft

In this article we give you easy to follow daily tips for prevention of mobile phone theft.

mobile phone theft
How to stop mobile phone theft

Here are 8 quick tips to help you keep your phone safe and to avoid mobile phone theft.

1. Don't use your phone in the street or on public transport.

This is a mindset shift and one most people find hard to take. All our security leads at Personal Safety London do not use their phone on the street or on public transport and we'll explain how so you can do it too:

Plan your routes in advance

By getting into the habit of planning your routes in advance and knowing where you are going and when, you won't need your phone to navigate your journey and will be able to keep it carried in a safe place on the inside of your clothing. (More on that later). This route awareness also increases your spatial awareness and location-knowledge so practice it and see if you can do your journeys by memory and get to know your environments.

Change your relationship with your phone

Most people use their phone as a crutch: they find it difficult to go periods of time without looking at it or using it for social comfort. Challenge yourself to get out of your phone and into your own presence. This helps us become more aware, more alert and more observant. It will make it easier for you to go out and not check your phone whilst you are travelling and walking to work.

If you need to use your phone make sure its safe to do so

If you need to use your phone make sure it is safe to use it: we suggest going into what we call a "safe space" - this is somewhere like a cafe, coffee shop, inside a shop, hotel lobby, or similar. Note that we don't consider a train or tube station, despite how busy it may be, as a safe space so we wouldn't use our phones there, we would look for the nearest coffee shop.

If you can't find a safe space then at least check the pavement and road around you and stay in one spot (don't walk) whilst using your phone quickly. Then put it away again in an inside pocket.

Find a project for your commute

Whether its reading books, planning a project or being creative, we encourage you to find some other wind-down activity for your commute which does not involve screen-time. As well as being good for your health, eyesight and mental wellbeing, it will also reduce your chances of having your phone or laptop stolen whilst in transit.

2. Don't wear headphones in the street or on public transport.

Sadly wearing headphones increases your chances of someone approaching you. Why? Because your spatial and audio awareness is reduced and it makes it easier to target you. White headphones also suggest you have an expensive device attached to the other end of them.

We have two types of people who come to us for training:

1) those who want to increase their prevention skills to stop an attack from happening, and
2) those who have been attacked and want our help to stop it happening again.

Sadly out of those who have been attacked, the majority were wearing headphones. So we strongly urge you not to wear them in the street or on public transport and keep them for enjoying at the gym instead. And for those who are thinking it, one ear in doesn't solve the issue. Both ears out please.

Mindset shift benefits

Both these above 2 items certainly require a mindset and habbit shift, but its worth it, not only for keeping your belongings safe but also for the benefits which spending more time away from your screen and devices affords your. Reduced device and screen usage has positive affects on your:

  • nervous system

  • mental stability

  • respiratory quality

  • posture

  • creativity

  • eyesite, and hence liver! (yes screen time affects your liver)

  • general feeling of groundedness and feeling more in-your-body

  • awareness

  • intuitive abilities

  • spatial awareness

Try it for a straight couple of weeks to start with and notice all the positive benefits and changes it makes for you. Like us, you wont go back to using your phone quite as much.

3. Carry your phone in a safe place

We suggest carrying your phone in a safe place in an inside pocket. If your clothes don't have inside pockets you can use a body pocket or a discrete running belt. We use the Khisu body pocket featured at the end of this article.

Carry your phone, keys, money on your person and not in your bag. Anything carried in your bag should be easily replacable. If your bag gets stolen at least you can get home safely and call for help.

For laptops, carry them in sports bags so it is less obivous your are carrying expensive laptops or tablets.

4. Carry a decoy phone in your pocket or bag

We all have old phones we don't use anymore so a good idea, especially if you are travelling through difficult areas, is to have your old phone in your pocket or in the front of your bag so you have something to hand over if you get mugged for a mobile phone. Prevention is better than cure so focus in on the prevention items in this article and know you can use this tip should you need to.

5. Keep your bluetooth and wifi switched off when you are in transit

Make a habit of switching off your devices' bluetooth and wifi settings when you are travelling or have your devices in your car. This will make them less detectable by thieves.

6. Keep your phone off the table when in bars and restaurants

It sounds obvious but we still see people putting their mobiles on the table in bars and restaurants. Find a way to carry your phone discretely on your person whilst socialising and avoid carrying it in the back pocket of your jeans.

7. Keep your phone safe whilst driving

If you’re driving whilst using your phone as a sat nav on your dashboard keep the windows up and doors locked. Even better, apply smash-resistant film to your car windows. It’s relatively cheap to apply and doesn’t alter the look of your car but gives you added peace of mind.

Don't have your phone in your hand as you get in and out of your car. When you are ready to exit your car check all your mirrors and look around you first so you can safely get your belongings out of your vehicle and the vehicle locked without interruption.

8. General Tips

  • Situational awareness is key: we see a lot of the public still walking down the street or on public transport listening to headphones and quite often staring into their phone. This limits your audio, visual and spatial awareness and enables someone to approach you without you seeing it coming. We can't stress enough the dangers of wearing headphones in public and strongly advise against it.

  • Many people think that having their phone in their hand makes them safer. Quite often its the opposite. Have your phone safe to hand, but not in your hand.

  • Try and switch out screen time and phonecalls on your commute for reading books and other activities. Commuter time and travel time are seen by the public as a time for relaxing on apps and catching up with friends on social media. The unfortunate truth is in the world of civilian security its the time people are targeted most. and hence when you need to be at your most alert.

  • Make sure you know how to exit, leave or change route from wherever you are should you need to exit an escalating situation.

Safe carrying under clothing

For safe carrying under clothing we use the Khisu Body Pocket plus discrete running and sports belts.

prevent mobile phone theft

If you need further tips contact us for one of our Personal Safety Seminars, you can see what's on at

The Personal Safety London team


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