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Canada Goose and North Face coats targeted in London Tube robberies

Surge in robberies with 340 reported between April and September 2023
Canada Goose coats are among the high-value items being targeted in robberies - Shutterstock

Commuters wearing Canada Goose and North Face coats are being targeted in Tube robberies, Transport for London has warned.

A surge in robberies on the London Underground has coincided with a rise in passengers being targeted for expensive coats and headphones, according to TfL security bosses.

There were 340 robberies from April to September this year, compared with 164 during the same period the previous year on London Underground, an increase of 108 per cent.

Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, was criticised in November for failing to keep residents safe on public transport after figures showed a 30 per cent rise in the number of crimes reported in the six months up to September.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of security, policing and enforcement, said that “acquisitive crime” was driving the overall increase in crime of 56 per cent.

She told the Evening Standard: “What is being stolen? Airpods, phones and – we are at risk of seeing an increase in robbery because of this – branded coats.

“Canada Goose coats, some North Face [coats] – they are targeted for robbery. It’s a real concern to us because it really impacts on the safety of young people on the network.”

Women use their mobile phones while waiting for an underground train to arrive in London
Phones and tech are also being targeted, putting young people 'at risk of theft' - LeoPatrizi/E+

Canada Goose coats – which can cost more than £1,500, with the cheapest costing £395 – are made with goose down sourced from Canadian Hutterite farmers and have a removable coyote fur-lined hood.

Celebrities such as Emma Stone, Daniel Craig and Drake have been pictured wearing the jackets, fuelling their popularity among Generation Z.

Harvey Nichols offers a Canada Goose Expedition fur-trimmed Arctic-Tech parka for £1,725.

The North Face, meanwhile, uses premium Gore-Tex waterproof and windproof fabric.

Ms Hayward added that the Met and British Transport Police (BTP) were aware of the issue and that CCTV images were shared widely when robberies happened to ensure offenders were caught and banned from travelling.

“It’s a very, concerning, intimidating and frightening type of behaviour that we are seeing across the capital,” she said.

But she added that reports of London Underground being “lawless” were “simplistic”.

She said: “The risk of being a victim of crime on London’s public transport network still remains relatively low.

“We are currently reporting 12.8 crimes per million passenger journeys. The national rail network is 22 crimes per million passenger journeys. That is almost half the risk of being a victim of crime on London’s public transport network.”

Crime on the underground is higher than last year, with 10,836 offences recorded between April and September 2023 compared to 6,924 in the same period during 2022, a 56 per cent rise.

The crime rate per million passenger journeys has also gone up to 18.6, compared with 13.7 within the same months last year.

Four 15-minute patrols on Tube platforms each day, four days a week, caused a drop in crime
Uniformed police patrols on Tube platforms are one tactic used by transport bosses to keep journeys safe - IAN NICHOLSON/PA

Ms Hayward added that TfL was losing “£130 million to £150 million a year” because of fare evasion with 3.9 per cent of fares going unpaid.

“We have much greater insight into how people are, for example, pushing through wide gates,” she said.

“Do they push through, do they ‘double gate’, do they go under the gate or over the gate, do they hold the gate open?

“We are running a trial to look at strengthening the gates to reduce the risk of them being pushed or held open.”

Public safety

Chris Casey, the BTP chief superintendent, said: “The public’s safety is our number one priority and our officers are working hard to help prevent robbery across the rail network. We use a variety of tactics to ensure journeys stay safe including uniform and plain clothes patrols, and thousands of CCTV cameras.

“We have increased our presence across the London rail network and across hotspot areas to deter opportunistic thieves and ensure passengers feel safe.

“We are making more arrests for robbery this year than any recent year; we are relentlessly committed to bringing offenders to justice.

“Passengers are encouraged to save BTP’s 61016 text-to-report number in their phones and report anything they witness that seems suspicious or unusual.

“If a robbery has just happened, always dial 999 – officers can immediately deploy to a location and begin immediate enquiries to trace offenders.”

A TfL spokesman said: “We know that thieves target busy places including our public transport networks and we are working closely with the police to tackle theft.

“This includes targeted enforcement action in busy, hotspot locations including plain-clothes police patrols, using our extensive network of CCTV to pursue offenders, and crime prevention messaging encouraging customers to keep their belongings safe and report any suspicious activity to police.

“We continue to work closely with the police to ensure that our transport network remains a safe and secure environment to work and travel.”