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The Metropolitan Police are starting a new campaign urging Londoners to take extra care with new Christmas presents, especially electronics and jewellery.
Mobile phones and MP3 players are most at risk, especially outside tube stations.
It follows an increase in the number of street robberies targeting luxury goods last year.
24,264 people were victims in 2010 - with almost a quarter aged 16 and under.
MPS Commander Simon Pountain said:
"The MPS takes street robbery very seriously - being robbed is a traumatic experience. However, the public can minimise the chance of it happening by taking some basic measures. When you are out, where possible try to keep any valuables hidden. Smart phones and media players are becoming must-have items for many people - that includes criminals too. They simply see these items as cash.
"Many robberies happen when people check their phones just after leaving a transport hub, or when they are going about their business and may be distracted. Adults who have consumed alcohol and have less awareness of their surroundings are also more vulnerable. We're also aware that young people are targeted, usually by other young people.
"We are not asking the public not to use their phones or media players in public - we are just advising them to be vigilant about where and when they use them.
"We are here for London, and to help make sure people can go about their daily lives as safely as possible. We are determined to do what we can to stop it happening as well as catching those responsible and bring them to justice."