More than 2000 thefts from vehicles in Doncaster – but only about one per cent of thieves are caught

More than 2,000 thefts from vehicles were reported in Doncaster last year – but only about one per cent of thieves were caught and charged.

Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 08:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th February 2019, 08:47 am
Vehicle crime.

The Free Press can also reveal today the top vehicle break-in hot spots.

Vehicle crime.

The town centre had the highest number of incidents with 486, followed by Sprotbrough with 163 and Bentley which had 152 incidents.

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Hexthorpe and Balby was next with 140 and then Wheatley Hills and Intake with 119.  

The figures, revealed using the Freedom of Information Act, were described as “truly shocking” by shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, who put the low conviction rate down to service cuts.

Police said resources are prioritised to tackle the hardest hit areas, and the force has a number of initiatives aimed at tackling thefts from vehicles.

Louise Haigh MP.

Ms Haigh, Labour's Sheffield Heeley MP, said: “These figures are truly shocking and reveal the chaos on our streets thanks to almost a decade of cuts to policing from this reckless Tory Government. 

“Violent crime is soaring, burglaries and robberies are up, so it’s little wonder that the police don’t feel able to dedicate resources to vehicle thefts.  However, too often these crimes mean someone’s life turned upside down, their business ruined. 

“Small business owners who keep their tools in their van find they can’t go to work and look on frustrated as the thieves get away with it. 

Doncaster town centre.

“It’s past time that the Government invested in our police and fulfilled the first duty of any government – to keep its citizens safe.”   

There were 2004 reported incidents of 'theft from vehicle' across Doncaster in 2018. 

Just 22 people were charged or summonsed for vehicle theft or an alternative offence, which amounts to just over one per cent.

On 1867 occasions – or just over 93 per cent of cases – an investigation was completed but no suspects were identified.

Insp Lynne Lancaster.

On 100 occasions police faced 'evidential difficulties', such as the victim not supporting further police action.

Nikki McDonald, councillor for the town ward, said: “Government funding cuts to the police and I will add, general funding cuts to all councils, especially Doncaster Council, quite clearly has a knock on effect to the number of staff employed and therefore available to carry out these patrols.

“That said with the limited numbers of people we have they do an incredibly brilliant job of being as pro-active as is humanly possible.”

She urged members of the public to sign up to the police's neighbourhood alert system, which issues warnings about crime trends and offers advice on preventative measures.

Coun McDonald urged people to use public transport but if this is not possible, then to ensure they always locked their vehicles and not to keep valuables inside on display. 

She added: “If possible, also to park in a secure, well-lit, well used and visible area including official car parks. 

“Doncaster is not a dangerous place to visit but always use your common sense and keep alert when out and about in your local area or when coming into the town centre.”

Doncaster Neighbourhood Inspector Lynne Lancaster said: “The issues we have with vehicle crime is generally the lack of solvability factors.

“If the crime is not witnessed or the area covered by CCTV we have limited lines of enquiry to follow to indicate who is responsible.

“My staff patrol the car parks and we always urge people not to leave valuables in their vehicles, in fact I only sent an alert out last week regarding this as we had a report of someone trying car doors in Wheatley.

“My staff also provide follow up visits to victims to provide crime prevention advice and we work closely with second hand dealers to identify any suspicious trends with customers.“

Report crimes to police on 101.