Category A: Best use of local area research
During 2012/13, Lancashire recorded year-on-year reductions of -18% for theft from a vehicle and interfering with a vehicle within the eastern side of the county. However, the theft of number plates from vehicles increased by 59%, with 236 plates being stolen during the same period. With stolen plates being used to commit further crimes, such as cash-in-transit robbery and drive-offs (making off without payments) at petrol stations, this became an increasing concern.
In addition, burglary and non-domestic burglary recorded had increased. Analysis showed this was partly due to properties and outbuildings being left insecure and opportunistic thieves taking advantage. But also it found that offenders were also using stolen plates to avoid detection from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.
The community safety partnership analyst researched methods and submitted a funding bid to LANPAC (the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime) for anti-theft screws. This was for 750 cars in the three targeted districts. The analyst then organised and implemented a security initiative to fit the screws to residents’ vehicles for free, whilst discussing crime prevention measures with them. Crimestoppers volunteers also attended the event to engage with the public.
The analysis revealed that people thought that number plate theft was a minor issue, but in fact it had much wider criminal implications. Residents admitted they were somewhat naive in their previous approach in their precautions to vehicle and home security, as they didn’t realise the more serious context.
Photo Credit: Global One