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  1. ITV Report

Smartphone thefts on the rise

Teenagers are the main target of smartphone theft Photo: ITV News

Like thousands of teenagers Jasmine Steel is with her phone almost every minute of every day. But she knows from bitter experience keeping it close is no guarantee to keeping it safe.

The 16-year-old is one of a rapidly growing number of teenagers to have had their smartphones stolen. Her sister and brother are fellow victims. And location is no protection, Jamine was mugged in the quiet Somerset market town of Frome.

"I was talking to my mum, she was coming to pick me up and these two guys ran up to me. One of them grabbed my phone out of my hand and went running off. I didn't see them at all. It was just their hoods."

Perhaps the most startling aspect of this crimewave is that most youngsters believe it's not a question of if they'll be targeted but when.

"We're the main target because we're smaller. What's the point of trying to like it. You're always going to have it out or with you. I mean everyone my age has a phone because you need it."

According to one recent insurance company survey Bristol is one of the riskiest cities in Britain in which to own a smartphone. With thefts her three thimes above the antional average, it poses the question is owning one worth the risk?

Smartphones can cost as much as £500 and in young hands they're easy targets for thieves.

Criminologist Dr Jane Monckton-Smith from the University of Gloucestershire says thieves not only want the handset but the data stored on them.

"With young people they have their whole life on their phone generally speaking and the younger the person, perhaps the less protection they have of their data, and that data can then be used for identity theft or stolen.

Like many victims Jasmine went straight back out and got another smartphone. This time it's one she hopes she'll keep hold of.