999 warning issued to motorists after spike in vehicle crime across Watford
Main article content
Police in Watford are urging residents to be vigilant after a rise in reported vehicle crime across the town.
Since Sunday 1 October police have received 42 reports of vehicles being broken into or interfered with, with most targeted vehicles having been left unlocked.
The vast majority of offences have occurred along the arterial routes of Rickmansworth Road, St Albans Road and Hempstead Road, with the rest in the areas of Cassiobury, Courtlands Drive and the surrounding roads, Oxhey and North Watford.
Vehicles are being targeted overnight, with many victims receiving camera doorbell activations between the hours of midnight and 5:30am.
Now the local policing team is urging residents to alert them to any suspicious behaviour in their street straightway, and if they suspect a crime is in progress, they should dial 999 immediately.
Inspector Dan Jones, who leads the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Tackling this spike in vehicle crime is a neighbourhood policing priority, because we know how frustrating and unsettling it is for victims when they realise their property has been stolen.
“In response, we have been carrying out overnight plain-clothed patrols in the affected areas as well as targeted operations where PCSOs have been trying door handles and identifying insecure vehicles before alerting their owners. The aim of this proactive work is to highlight just how easy it is for opportunistic criminals to gain access to your vehicle if you forget to lock it.”
A 31 year old man from Watford was arrested on suspicion of theft from a motor vehicle in Parkside Drive in the early hours of Monday 2 October, after a member of the public called police when they witnessed suspicious activity in the road.
Inspector Jones continued: “Earlier this year several arrests were made in connection with vehicle crime in Watford, with some resulting in charges. In some of these cases, we were able to make those arrests swiftly thanks to the public calling us immediately when they suspected a crime was being committed.
“We continue to urge residents to report any suspicious activity, such as people trespassing on driveways or interfering with vehicles, to us immediately on 999, as this allows us the best chance of making an arrest when the crime is in action.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary offers the following crime prevention advice in relation to vehicle crime, specifically theft:
Remove all valuables from your vehicle – including the glovebox and boot – before leaving it unattended. Don’t give thieves the opportunity to steal from you.
It sounds obvious, but always triple-check that you’ve locked your vehicle. It takes seconds to do, but replacing items that have been stolen is much more inconvenient and expensive.