We've had a run of meetings with the police team locally and the initial figures for this financial year show that total recorded crime is up 1.5% against the same period last year, which amounts to an increase of five crimes. Percentages aren't always helpful at this level, unfortunately - big percentage shifts often relate to quite a small number of offences at local level and the numbers will move up and down during the year. Overall, last year saw reported crime fall again in Yardley and our police team are targeted to improve on that again this year.
Robbery is down 36% which equates to four offences, burglaries of homes are up 64%, which relates to eleven offences of varying types - including a number of thefts of copper piping and tanks from empty rental properties. Your councillors have supported police initiatives with Community Chest funding providing window and door alarms in roads that have been affected. A number of the burglaries saw thieves enter through open windows or doors, so the police again remind everyone to keep their doors locked, even if you are in the house.
Thefts from vehicles remain a problem and is up 16%, which amounts to seven offences. Around 40% of that is theft of number plates from vehicles and these are generally used to aid in the theft of fuel from garages - particularly the Esso garage on Fox Hollies Road, which has been targetted in the past. One man has been arrested in the Sheldon area in relation to over 40 offences and police have even found vans adapted with extra tanks in the load space and an additional special fuel filler cap - this theft is on an industrial scale. Again, Community Chest funding has funded special retaining screws for officers to hand out when they visit areas that have been targeted and identify vehicles with stick on plates. Officers are also carrying out foot patrols and trying car doors - they wandered down my road the other night and found one of my neighbour's cars insecure, so knocked on the door to remind the owner.
Drivers who flout the ban on right turns out of Station Road onto Warwick Road need to be a little more careful - following a crash there where a pedestrian was seriously injured, police are paying special attention to the junction and will be warning and ticketing offenders.