Criminals targeting two vehicles a day in Walsall town centre
Opportunistic thieves targeted vehicles in Walsall town centre more than twice a day as crime rose, prompting calls for improved CCTV.
There were 73 reports of ‘vehicle crime’ within a one-mile radius of the town centre in January this year, according to police figures – a rise of 30 from the same period in 2017 when 43 incidents were recorded. In 2016, 44 were reported in the same area. Officers are now introducing extra patrols after a significant ‘spike’ in offences.
Sergeant Mo Khalid, whose team covers the area, said there had been a rise in ‘opportunists’ targeting insecure vehicles.
“We have seen a spike in vehicle crime offences recently,” he said.
“Many of these offences are committed by opportunists from vehicles that have been left insecure so we would urge motorists to always lock doors and remove any valuables, bags and coats from view.
“We are working with roads policing colleagues on a plan to get additional police patrol resources into the town centre to support local officers on the lookout for thieves and anyone who may be travelling into the town to commit offences.
“West Midlands Police also employ various proactive tactics to catch vehicle crime offenders, including deploying ‘capture cars’ across the region, which are fitted with hidden CCTV cameras, microphones and silent alarms which alert police officers to an intruder.”
In December last year there were 69 ‘vehicle crimes’ reported within a one mile radius of the town centre, in November there were 52 and in October, 64.
In total, Walsall Police received 679 reports of ‘vehicle crime’ over the past year.
Councillor Mike Bird, leader of the Conservative opposition group at Walsall Council, said the figures highlighted a need for better CCTV, and called on owners to be more alert.
He added: “This is more of a reason as to why we need an upgraded CCTV system. But importantly people need to be more careful.
“At the end of the day you can’t expect the police to deal with the stupidity of individuals who leave cars unlocked and goods on show. Leaving laptops and iPads in view at times – when they are costing £1,000 a time and more.
“Yes – vehicle crime is on the increase and we don’t support the opportunists but the message needs to go out to the owners to defeat this type of crime and help the police.”