'Help us crack youth crime'

PUBLISHED: 15:44 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 07:16 30 May 2010

UTTLESFORD S top cop wants to enlist the help of the public to crack down on petty youth crime and drunken vandalism in Dunmow town centre. Chief Inspector and district commander Joe Wrigley said one of the heaviest burdens on police time is investigating

UTTLESFORD'S top cop wants to enlist the help of the public to crack down on petty youth crime and drunken vandalism in Dunmow town centre.

Chief Inspector and district commander Joe Wrigley said one of the heaviest burdens on police time is investigating crimes involving vandalism on vehicles committed after sundown.

"About 56 per cent of all our damages across the district are the result of scratching to vehicles," he said.

"The remainder are made up from fences being broken, windows being smashed, garden pots and ornaments being broken.

"The worst time for this is between 10pm and 6am in the lit areas of town centres and I would happily go out on a limb and claim that alcohol plays a significant part in this. Many of the minor damages take a few moments to commit and are thoughtless yet high value crimes."

According to police figures, between April 1 and May 31, 139 offences of criminal damage were committed across Uttlesford.

It is estimated that four-fifths of criminal damages are spur of the moment offences and that the large part are committed by young people between 14 and 25.

Chief Insp Wrigley added: "It is time that this stopped. A large percentage of offenders are affected by alcohol and fail to consider the consequences of their crimes when they are committing them.

"Criminal damage, unlike other types of crime, is committed almost exclusively by the resident population - people don't travel up the M11 from London to scratch a single car."

He added: "The cost of criminal damage is handed to the community through insurance premiums and council tax costs so I am asking the community to help us to reduce the number of offences by taking action."

Police advice issued to the public this week states that talking to young people and getting them to understand the cost of criminal damage not only financially but to individuals and communities is the key.

Chief Insp Wrigley said: "If you see someone committing damage call the police on 999."

If anyone has any information on the perpetrators of criminal damage call the police on 0300 333 4444. To remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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