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Revealed: Top streets for vehicle crime in Norwich as reports of thefts leap

PUBLISHED: 08:06 24 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:06 25 September 2018

Lynsey Hannant's car was targetted by thieves on her birthday while parked at Bishopgate. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Lynsey Hannant's car was targetted by thieves on her birthday while parked at Bishopgate. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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Vehicle crime has leapt by a quarter in Norwich this year with police failing to solve almost 90pc of reports in some parts of the city.

But there is a big difference across Norwich in how effective police are at catching car criminals.

In the wards of Mile Cross, Catton Grove and Crome, across north Norwich, around seven in 10 vehicle crimes ended with no suspect being identified in the last three years.

But in Nelson ward, which includes the Golden Triangle, almost nine in ten reports are closed with no suspect being identified.

It means more than 5,700 vehicle crimes in Norfolk since August 2015 remain unsolved.

Vehicle crime includes thefts and attempted thefts from cars as well as stealing vehicles, motorbikes and mopeds.

Chief Inspector Sonia Humphreys, from Bethel Street Police Station, said solve rates came down to lots of different factors. Police needed evidence from CCTV or forensics to get prosecutions, she said.

“That is becoming difficult for us because we don’t have a spread of CCTV across the city,” Norwich’s most senior police officer added.

She said technology in new vehicles had made it harder to steal new cars.

Lynsey Hannant's Seat Ibiza was broken into on Bishopgate in Norwich on evening of Monday September 17. Photo: Lynsey HannantLynsey Hannant's Seat Ibiza was broken into on Bishopgate in Norwich on evening of Monday September 17. Photo: Lynsey Hannant

“We not talking about the numbers of car thefts you used to see in the 1990s and noughties,” she said.

But cars from Corsas to luxury vehicles are still targeted for their parts.

Headlines earlier this year warned of ‘Corsa cannibals’ who stripped parts from the popular hatchback. In Norwich eight vehicles - including an Audi RS4 - were broken into in July while parked at St Mary’s Works, off Duke Street.

Explore our map to see how many vehicle crimes took place on your street - and if they were solved.

Eight vehicles - including an Audi RS4 and a BMW - were broken into at St Mary's Works in the city centre in July. Photo: Luke PowellEight vehicles - including an Audi RS4 and a BMW - were broken into at St Mary's Works in the city centre in July. Photo: Luke Powell

And on Monday evening Lynsey Hannant’s Seat Ibiza was broken into on Bishopgate near the Cathedral.

The nurse, from Hellesdon, was out celebrating her 33rd birthday with friends.

But when she returned to her car at around 9.30pm the front window on the driver’s side had been smashed.

They took a small amount of cash and two cards but left Ms Hannant’s Sat Nav and phone charger

“I was devastated,” she said. “I was having a lovely birthday. I thought why me? There is now the inconvenience of sorting everything out.”

She reported it to the police on Monday night. Forensics visited her on Tuesday to take swabs from the white hatchback in case the thief left any DNA. She is now waiting to hear back.

Chief Insp Humphreys added: “We run through a series of questions with the person who is reporting the crime i.e. is CCTV in the area? Is there forensics?

“We wouldn’t have an officer go to every single report but we look at what we can do. It is a balancing act between demand and resource.”

Lynsey Hannant from Hellesdon was shocked to see her car had been broken into on her birthday.
Picture: Neil DidsburyLynsey Hannant from Hellesdon was shocked to see her car had been broken into on her birthday. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Reports of vehicle crime in Norwich were up by 23pc from January to July this year to 468 reports compared to the same period in 2016 and 2017. Across Norfolk they are slightly down on last year but up on 2016.

North Norfolk had the best solve rate with 65pc of reports ending in no suspect being identified, compared to 75pc for the rest of Norfolk.

Reports peaked in Norwich in March, April and May this year.

The highest number of vehicle crime reports since August 2015 in Norwich is on Prince of Wales Road, followed by Golden Dog Lane, Magdalen Road and West End Street.

Norwich chief inspector Sonia Humphreys. Photo: Norfolk ConstabularyNorwich chief inspector Sonia Humphreys. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Chief Insp Humphreys said: “If we see a spike in vehicle crime in a particular area we will change our patrol patterns.

“It can come down to several factors. Someone can move to the area and they could fund a lifestyle they are then leading that way.”

She urged people to not leave anything on display in their car, even items not worthy anything.

“They might leave a bag which is empty on the car seat but someone smashes window thinking there is something in it,” she said.

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