Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Carlisle has highest car crime rate in Cumbria

Burglaries and thefts from vehicles have risen sharply in Carlisle, which now has the highest rate of car crime in Cumbria.

POlice Steve Johnson photo
Steve Johnson

The increase is in marked contrast to the figures for other types of crime, which are falling.

There were 186 burglaries from homes in Carlisle in 2012-13, up from 182 the year before and 159 two years ago.

Burglaries from businesses and other non-domestic premises rose more sharply, from 348 in 2010-11 to 377 in 2011-12 and 436 last year.

And thefts from vehicles jumped from 221 in 2010-11 to 272 the following year and 317 in 2012-13 – a rise of 43 per cent over two years.

The trend is identified in a draft report from Cumbria Intelligence Observatory, which analyses official crime statistics.

This shows that crime overall in Carlisle is falling.

There were 6,487 recorded offences last year, down from 7,463 the year before and 7,496 in 2010-11.

Incidents of criminal damage, drug crime, offences against the person, alcohol-related crime, thefts of motor vehicles and hate crime – including racially-motivated and homophobic attacks – all fell in 2012-13.

But burglary and other acquisitive crime is rising relentlessly.

Richard Rhodes, Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner, expects the upward trend to continue when the 2013-14 figures come out.

He said: “We have been aware of the rise. It’s no big secret. Acquisitive crime is likely to increase in times of economic hardship.

“The police are being proactive in combating it. The big issue is that people don’t secure doors and windows.”

The report says that – within Carlisle – Botcherby, St Aidan’s and Castle wards have the most domestic burglaries.

Harraby, Castle and Upperby are worst for burglaries from non-domestic premises.

And Belah, Currock and Denton Holme have the most thefts from vehicles.

The report is due to be discussed by Carlisle City Council’s ruling executive next Monday when councillors review Carlisle and Eden Community Safety Partnership’s crime-busting strategy for 2014-15.

Council leader Colin Glover believes that the Government’s austerity policies are to blame for the jump in acquisitive crime.

He said: “It’s not acceptable that people turn to crime because they can’t make ends meet, but it’s very likely to be a sign of the times.

“People are turning to desperate measures. Just as we’ve seen the use of food banks triple in recent months, it’s possible that some people are feeling so desperate they are turning to crime. That doesn’t make it right though.”

Elsewhere in Cumbria, the picture on acquisitive crime is mixed.

Domestic burglaries fell last year in Barrow, Copeland and Eden but increased in Allerdale and South Lakeland.

Non-domestic burglaries fell in Allerdale and Copeland but increased everywhere else.

And thefts from vehicles fell in Allerdale, Copeland and South Lakeland yet climbed in Eden and Barrow.

Crime overall fell everywhere except Barrow.

Cumbria Constabulary launched a campaign in January in response to the rising number of burglaries.

Officers issued crime prevention advice to businesses and visited sites that might be targeted to ensure premises were secure.

The force also warned householders to keep doors and windows locked to prevent sneak-in thefts.

It estimates that 40 per cent of burglaries in Cumbria are as a result of properties being insecure.

The most frequently-stolen items are handbags, cash, mobile phones, laptops and keys.

Chief Superintendent Steve Johnson said: “The way in which some criminals work has changed. They will wander the streets, looking for open windows, trying front and back doors to see if they are open.

“If you are sitting in one part of the house and cannot hear the front door opening, then this is an ideal opportunity for a thief.”


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