Harlow in grip of epidemic of car theft with a vehicle stolen every single day

Crime / Thu 11th May 2023 at 08:17am

HARLOW is in the grip of a car theft epidemic according to recent statistics released by Essex Police.

A day doesn’t seem to go by without residents, from Katherines to Newhall, being made aware of a car being stolen from driveways or the road.

Between March 2022 and March 2023, there were 341 cars stolen. Just ten of the reports of theft led to the crime being “solved”.

YH understands that over the last few months, the figures now average out a one a day.

But once again, like burglaries and sex offences, what has concerned residents is the very low solve rate for this crime.

Many residents are concerned that criminal gangs are getting away with it as the government has “effectively decriminalising car theft”.

The Metropolitan Police was the worst performing police force with 87.2% of car thefts going unsolved.

West Midlands, South Yorkshire and Essex were also among the top of the list, all reporting more than 80% car thefts as unsolved.

Harlow Chief Inspector Paul Austin said: “I would point out that most vehicles are stolen, when persons are not present or not with it, so eyewitness evidence is not available. We will always ask for CCTV Trawl of the area however we know offenders cover their faces.

“All recovered stolen vehicles are forensically examined by our crime scene investigators unless requested by the owner not too. I can’t provide you with a number of these vehicles that are recovered but a large proportion are and most of them are located abandoned by our officers.

“My message to Harlow is that we are committed catching offenders who commit all crime and where there are opportunities to do so we will always seek to arrest and prosecute offenders including theft of motor vehicles.

“We run operations with our police colleagues from MPS/Herts as we know vehicle offenders’ cross boundaries to commit crime, working together gives us the specialist capability to tackle offenders.

 Seven arrests after joint operation targeting cross-border criminality | Essex Police

There is prevention advice on our website Preventing car and vehicle theft | Crime Prevention | Essex Police.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Car theft is a truly distressing crime and we are closely working with the automotive industry and police to ensure our response is as strong as it can be. Recent figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show vehicle crime is down 22% since December 2019.

“We expect police to take vehicle crime seriously and investigate thoroughly to ensure perpetrators are charged and brought to justice. 

“Last month we delivered our pledge to put 20,000 more police officers on our streets, and we are supporting police by providing more funding for crime prevention measures, including better street lighting and CCTV.”

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12 Comments for Harlow in grip of epidemic of car theft with a vehicle stolen every single day:

2023-05-11 09:48:04

Simply not good enough! Poor response from Essex and other forces, we have had four vehicles stolen within 500m of where we live in Newhall, two mercedes and two range rovers - both on the same night. Within 2 days one family were contacted by police to say case closed due to lack of evidence. Essex police are not proactive enough. Use bait cars, do something to find out where they are going and disrupt the criminal gangs - bait cars are apparently not allowed as it is considered entrapment....that's the response I got from Essex police. I'm not being funny but if you are going out equipped and prepared to steal, it shouldn't matter that you stole the wrong car and got caught! These gangs are acting with total impunity, it is the same for vans being broken into! We have a lawless country at the minute, the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Throw the book at these people, no matter what they do, make it hurt! Make them think twice. It's not entirely the fault of the police (they are at the pointy end of it though), it is the politicians, the judiciary and the government. I say this as someone with many family members in the police. It is incredibly frustrating! Should be three strikes and you are out of society for good like America, no matter how small the crime.

2023-05-11 10:32:36

Spot on Markus, there is nothing else that i need to add.

David morton
2023-05-11 13:11:25

Police are not the slightest bit interested, once they've provided you with a crime reference no. That's their bit done!!!!

David morton
2023-05-11 13:14:50

Marcus, if you catch the thieves and given them a good beating you can be rest assured that the police will be interested then but only for what you've done!!! They don't mind asking for the publics help in other matters, they won't help me so I'm buggered if I'll do anything to help them!!

2023-05-11 13:39:48

Marcus, you are right in what you say to a point. The police will attend the scene and take what evidence they can, they will then go to the CPS with all evidence (if criminal had been caught) and the CPS decide whether to take things further. Unfortunately, the police can only gather evidence that is there. If there is no evidence or not enough evidence then there is little else they can do on a crime by crime basis. With regards to entrapment, the police are bound by the law also. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases their hands are tied. My wife is a police officer for Essex police (I won't say where) and I can assure you they are as frustrated ad everyone else at how tied their hands are.

2023-05-11 15:20:08

I reported two vehicles being broken into, was asked to report it online as it wasn't "urgent" despite having clear CCTV of the offending vehicle and driver I have heard nothing from Essex police this was 2 months ago, as others have said they are not interested, however say some hurty words on social media and it's a different story

2023-05-11 17:09:57

Don't even know why we have a police force as crime has taken over & the people doing these crimes know it & rule our towns in what they do. Nowhere is safe nothing is safe with these criminals but as said, they go do just what they want but if we try to protect our family our friends our belongings then the police are on you like a ton of bricks. What is happening to this world.

2023-05-11 20:02:23

Me - I get that, I have 5 members of my immediate family as coppers. Totally understand the frustration the CPS don't help either, that's what I was referring to as judiciary! I would happily host a bait car on my drive, it is similar to poisoning a pest to take it back to the nest and kill the rest! Don't get me wrong manufacturers are also culpable! It just royally gets my goat! Throw the book at them, none of this suspended sentence rubbish! You get caught you get locked up!

2023-05-11 20:04:58

@editor.. That table of vehicle crime is that total figures for 2022 vs to date 2023? If so that is mental

2023-05-11 20:23:22

Markus, I think you speak for many of us. Too many Judges mete out suspended sentences and often to those who have previously committed crimes. I think our Judiciary definitely needs overhauling. People blame the Police, but the Judiciary then undo all of the hard work the Police have done. How do these useless Judges get appointed?

2023-05-11 20:25:14

Markus, I think you speak for many of us. Too many Judges mete out suspended sentences and often to those who have previously committed crimes. To that end, I think our Judiciary definitely needs overhauling. Too often people blame the Police, but the Judiciary then undo all of the hard work the Police have done. How do these useless Judges get appointed in the first place?

2023-05-11 22:35:06

The police are all about stats. They can pull you for speeding, convict you and close the case. An unsolved burglary or car theft doesn’t look good on there rap sheet so would rather just give you a number and move on. Not fit for purpose.

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