Wheel locks out-fox car thieves

CAR thieves on the prowl in Ipswich are being thwarted by one of the simplest crime fighting methods of all time.Suffolk police officers from the South East Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood Team have spent a small amount of money and managed to make a huge difference to car crime figures in their area.

CAR thieves on the prowl in Ipswich are being thwarted by one of the simplest crime fighting methods of all time.

Suffolk police officers from the South East Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood Team have spent a small amount of money and managed to make a huge difference to car crime figures in their area.

All the officers did was purchase a number of low-tech steering wheel locks - at a discounted internet price - and hand them out to drivers in an area notorious for car thefts, leading to a 50per cent drop in vehicle theft.

The pilot scheme has been in operation for only six months but its success has led the neighbouring North East Ipswich Safer Neighbourhood team to plan on introducing a similar scheme.

Officers patrolling in the south east of Ipswich had noticed a high number of old style vehicles being stolen. Often the vehicles were used in other crimes and then burnt out.

In a bid to tackle the trend, £500 was spent on obtaining a number of discounted steering wheel locks from an Internet firm.

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Vulnerable vehicles were identified in hot spot areas in the south east of Ipswich and Pcs and community support officers called at the addresses of the owners of the vehicles and not only offered them crime prevention advice but provided them with a free steering wheel security lock and encouraged them to use it.

Between July 15, 2006 and December 31, 2006 42 vehicles were stolen from the south east area, including 23 vehicles identified as of a vulnerable model.

But between July 15 and December 31 last year 21 vehicles were stolen from the same area, including eight vehicles identified as of a vulnerable model.

That represented a 50per cent drop in vehicle theft overall and a 66pc reduction in the theft of vulnerable vehicles.

Have you been a victim of vehicle crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Advice from Suffolk Constabulary

Residents are reminded to keep their property secure and park in a locked garage or a well-lit road

Avoid parking in isolated places or areas concealed from public view

Remove items of value, put down aerials and turn in wing mirrors

If you see crime being committed or see anyone acting suspiciously, dial 999 immediately

You can help police by getting a good description of the person and by noting down the registration number of any suspicious vehicles

For further crime prevention advice contact your local Crime Reduction Officer on 01473 613500