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"We have cut policing to the bone": borough's worst streets for vehicle crime revealed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 January 2019

Cranbrook Road in Gants Hill, the road in Redbridge most afflicted by vehicle crime. Picture: Google Streetview

Cranbrook Road in Gants Hill, the road in Redbridge most afflicted by vehicle crime. Picture: Google Streetview

Archant

Ninety-eight per cent of vehicle crime in Redbridge has gone unsolved over the past three years.

Between October 2015 and August 2018 police received 9,943 reports from people in the borough relating to break-ins, thefts from motor vehicles, damage and vehicle theft.

But according to the Met’s own statistics, they were able to catch just two per cent of the perpetrators– with 9,745 cases still open, never updated, or closed without a suspect identified.

Twenty-six people have gone to prison since October 2015 for vehicle crimes in Redbridge, while another 11 went to court and were found not guilty. Nine court cases were not able to proceed.

Earlier this year concerns were raised by the Mayor of London that government police funding cuts had hit the capital harder than anywhere else in England and Wales, with figures suggesting a 20% fall in spending per head of the population since 2012/13.

Over three years the worst-affected ward in Redbridge was Valentines, where 722 vehicle crimes were reported over almost three years, of which 709 went unsolved or unresolved.

This was followed by Wanstead, where 703 crimes reportedly took place, and Snaresbrook, with 623. In Abbey, the only punitive measure taken so far has been one fine issued.

Councillor Khayer Chowdhury, who represents Valentines, said: “It comes up in doorstep conversations on a regular basis.

“Some people leave their vehicles unlocked and there are opportunistic thieves out there that will open whatever door they can and ransack the car.”

Mr Chowdhury said funding cuts were to blame for the low number of vehicle crimes being solved, adding that the true figure could be much higher as his residents now thought they were being “considerate” by not reporting smaller crimes to the police.

He said: “We have cut policing to the bone. They need more officers on the beat and they don’t have it. Unless the government changes tack, police can’t currently investigate small crimes.

“When you’ve got stabbings, knife crime and child sexual exploitation, police can no longer focus their efforts on a car being broken into. It’s ordinary people like us who are left worrying.”

The worst-afflicted location for vehicle crime in Redbridge was Cranbrook Road in Gants Hill, where 51 crimes have taken place, leading to just one person being taken to court.

This was followed by Ilford’s Hampton Road, with 50 crimes recorded, Grove Park in Wanstead, with 46, Woodlands Road in Ilford, with 44, and Eastern Avenue, with 43.

A Met Police spokesperson said that in the case of thefts from vehicles, identifying the perpetrator posed a “particular challenge” for officers.

She said: “Theft from motor vehicles is a prime example of an opportunistic crime where the suspect will not hesitate to smash a car window and find some valuables to steal, all within seconds.

“Often there can be limited opportunities to identify the perpetrator. The introduction of dash cams inside vehicles and CCTV outside the vehicle greatly improves our ability to identify offenders.”

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