Canterbury residents demand action after car vandalism cases rocket

Canterbury residents feel ‘unsafe’ after a soar in car vandalism cases and claim ‘the police are not doing anything’.

Reports of the crime in the city have soared in the area, with April seeing 17 incidents of either car-related damage or theft filed over a five day period.

Thousands of pounds worth of valuables have been stolen and high-costing damage repairs have been funded from the pocket of the victims involved. Now, residents of the area have had enough, claiming the ‘police need to do more’ to stop the crime once and for all.

©Annie Brazer

Annie Brazer was staying at her boyfriend’s house in Priest Avenue, when her car was vandalised overnight. She said that she received limited support from the police after reporting the incident. She said: “The police haven’t even rang me. They’ve only sent an email to say they’re looking into it. I used the new online crime logging system, it’s been a week now and I haven’t spoken to an actual person or heard if they’ve done any investigating, I don’t feel safe I have not left my car in the area since, and my boyfriend is very wary about leaving his.”

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner talking about Canterbury car break-ins last year:

The police have since released a statement claiming that they are “continuing to work to identify those responsible for these incidents.” However, many residents of the city believe that there is other measures that need to be taken by the authorities to make them feel safe again.

Danny Lee is a local in the area, she had her car passenger window smashed and her car battery stolen on a night where 13 other cars were victim to the attacks. She said that CCTV is the ‘only way’ to prevent these crimes and catch the culprits involved: “The police aren’t doing anything, are they?

“If so, more CCTV is needed in residential areas. Especially places of repeat crimes. We’ve had houses and garages broken into and garages burnt. Smashed car windows in my close, at least once a week.”

“I don’t feel safe here, let alone parking my car ”

©Tia Chapman

Some residents have taken it into their own hands to report on the crime.

Tia Chapman is a Canterbury Christ Church student, after two of her housemates had their car windows broken into three times within three weeks, she wanted to delve deeper into the crime.

She said: “I wanted to understand how many people had been affected and in what areas. Our area to park in is oversubscribed with permits so Sturry road was the easiest place for us to park, it turned out the offence was happening here almost daily.”

©Alice Gadd

Tia put together a research project and went to the council to find out why the problem was so bad, however both said they couldn’t do anything due to “lack of resources and funding”, however Tia explains the police were sympathetic towards her.

“I had contact from both the police and the local council, they both gave us sympathy and said they would increase police presence when possible but that CCTV in this road wasn’t possible due to lack of funding. I could understand the police’s lack of resources and they were very sorry but more needs to be done about the issue.

 

Inspector Vicki Tyler, of Kent Police’s Canterbury Community Safety Unit, reminded drivers in Canterbury to remove all valuables from their cars and said officers continued to investigate a series of thefts across the city.

Insp Tyler revealed that between Monday 8 and Friday 12 April 2019 a total of 17 reports of damage or thefts against cars in Canterbury were made to Kent Police.

“Our officers are continuing to work to identify those responsible for these incidents,” she said. ‘Thieves will take every opportunity to steal anything available, from small amounts of loose change and phone chargers, to expensive dashcam equipment and they show little regard to the inconvenience and cost they are causing to their victims.

“We ask residents to be alert”

“We are running a special operation to target those committing vehicle crime in the city. This involves patrolling in targeted areas at key times. It is a priority to reduce the number of offences currently being reported.

Insp Tyler advised victims to report matters to the police rather than just on social media and be mindful of releasing personal information that may result in them being targeted again.

“We ask residents to be alert and report any suspicious activity seen around cars. If your property has CCTV installed, we ask you to review it to see if it has captured anything of interest and if it has, keep it saved and call us,” she said.

“We thank all those who have already come forward with information, and ask if there is anyone who believes their car may have been targeted, to report it. Your information will help our enquiries, and by reporting any items stolen from your car, it will make it easier and quicker to identify the owners of any property we recover during our investigation.”

Anyone who has witnesses anything suspicious or who has information to assist with our investigation is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting reference 46/64330/19.

Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 

Police Advice

• Don’t leave anything on display, no matter how small
• Take valuables like laptops and satnavs with you
• Wipe satnav suction marks away from your windscreen or dashboard
• Remove the stereo if you can
• Never leave your keys in the ignition
• Use a Thatcham-approved immobiliser or steering lock can help secure older vehicles
• Park in a garage, secure car park or well-lit area if possible
• Make sure you don’t leave your car keys visible from the outside of your home.

 

Take a look at some of the worst car-window vandalism cases below:

If you want to report an incident like the above then click here.