Police Launch Operation Unplugged

Charging leads left in parked vehicles see an increase in theft from motor vehicle crimes

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One of Wandsworth success stories of the last 12 months has been the progress made in tackling motor vehicle crimes - which has fallen by 6.6%.

Its success means that, in all, 214 fewer motor vehicle offences took place this year compared with the same period last year - and that fewer people are becoming victims of these crimes.

With an overall decrease across the borough, a number of wards however have seen an increase in this type of crime. So what is behind this increase, and how does Wandsworth Police plan to continue tackling motor vehicle crime? Police Constable Jon Gustar from Putney Safer Neighbourhoods Team, says there are many factors behind the increase but the main culprit is charging leads:
“Some of the operations carried out over the last year to tackle motor vehicle crime have clearly had an impact. However, I would say the main reason behind the reduction is education.”

He explains:
"For example, officers are continuously talking to people during their patrols and providing crime prevention advice. They are reminding people not to leave anything on display. People are generally shocked to find out that it can take as little as 10 seconds for a thief to steal something from their car."

Why the increase then on some wards?

With regards to the increase on some wards, PC Gustar says that charging leads left inside vehicles have clearly helped the increase of motor vehicle crimes on some wards:
“We knew this type of crime is going down however, over the last few months we started to receive an abnormal number of theft from motor vehicle crime reports. To understand why the area was being targeted by criminals, we carried out covert operations and high visibility patrols. The results were as officers’ predicted; literally hundreds of vehicles had charging leads and cradles on display.”

“This intelligence gave rise to Operation Unplugged, which is intended to combat and further reduce theft from motor vehicle offences.

“The operation will see covert officers patrolling the streets to gather intelligence and arrest those involved. However, Operation Unplugged is all about education, and that will be our main focus. People don’t realise how a simple thing like a charging lead left in the cigarette lighter or an empty cradle in the windscreen can give clues that something is being stored in the glove compartment.

"Never leave anything on display when you have parked your vehicle."

Over the next few weeks officers from Safer Neighbourhoods Team will be holding crime prevention stalls and carrying out high visibility patrols, as well as a number of other activities to raise awareness on the dangers of leaving items on display inside parked vehicles.

More information on how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of motor vehicle crime is available on the Metropolitan Police website

August 7, 2015