Car crooks cost us big money

SMASH-and-grab car crooks are now making more money than Marks & Spencer, according to a new report out today.Thefts from cars, mainly when parked outside homes, are up for the first time in ten years after a crackdown on street robberies, according to Autoglass' annual car crime survey.

SMASH-and-grab car crooks are now making more money than Marks & Spencer, according to a new report out today.

Thefts from cars, mainly when parked outside homes, are up for the first time in ten years after a crackdown on street robberies, according to Autoglass' annual car crime survey.

The national crackdown mainly targeted mobile phone robbers. This year, the number of mobiles being taken from cars more than tripled from four per cent of thefts from cars to 14pc. Last month a mobile was being taken from a car every two minutes.

Ian Carlisle, managing director of Autoglass said: "Crackdowns on crime

often just move the problem somewhere else. We're concerned that chasing

robbers off city centre streets is leading them to target cars outside homes in East Anglia."

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The first rise in thefts from cars for ten years - UK numbers are up four per cent to 1.6m - is leaving motorists and insurers with an £800m bill. That means crooks are making more money than Marks & Spencer.

Victims in East Anglia typically suffer an average loss of £332 after an attack. Peterborough is ranked at number 22 in the nationwide Autoglass 'hot spots' car crime table.

Suffolk Police Authority statistics are due to be released soon.

The Autoglass report being sent to Home Secretary Mr Blunkett, comes days after clocks went back. Darker evenings bring a 22pc rise in attacks on cars, according to the company which has repaired the damage to over 250,000 victims of car crime across the UK in the last 12 months.

On average, Autoglass is contacted by over 700 car crime victims every day.

The nationwide study also revealed that:

178 cars are broken into every hour in the UK

Nearly half (48pc) of car owners in East Anglia don't bother to install an alarm system

Nearly a third (30pc) of car crimes in East Anglia are committed outside the home

The average car crime bill per person in East Anglia is £332.50

Drivers now consider the car crime epidemic one of the country's most serious issues. More than half of people in East Anglia (51pc) think it's as important as the national economy.

But one in six (17pc) victims in East Anglia don't contact police because they think nothing will come of it. Nine in ten (8pc) of those who do so have no faith that anyone would ever be charged.

Ian Carlisle of Autoglass, said: "Drivers in East Anglia may say the authorities aren't doing anything to help, but they're not helping themselves either. They are still issuing open invitations to smash and grab thieves by leaving valuables on show."

Forty-three per cent of car criminals take the stereo, and 23pc take a mobile phone. A third of thieves strike in private driveways and just ten per cent in a car park.

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