Warning after crime rise

A RISE in crime across the borough in the last month has led to police chiefs warning residents to keep a sharp eye on their valuables.

Police commander for Great Yarmouth Superintendent Jim Smerdon pointed to a rise in thefts from vehicles as the cause of the sudden increase.

“In the last few weeks we’ve had a real spike in that kind of crime,” Supt Smerdon said. “Which is luckily normally very rare in Great Yarmouth.

“We’ve not had anything similar for quite a few years, and it’s an abnormal event for us and an unacceptable one too.

October saw 27 such thefts, five more than the same month last year, while in the first week of November there were 11 more reported, compared to four in 2009.

“Our summer season might have more opportunity crime but we would expect that to be going down by now. However, it’s a spike, not a trend.”

Among the vehicle break-ins, which appear to be spread randomly around the borough, are 10 incidents in which sat navs have been taken and 11 in which tools were taken.

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There have also been a number of other burglaries, all of which come under what Supt Smerdon labelled “opportunity crime”.

And though no one specific cause had been highlighted as of yet, possible reasons included increased drug use, new criminals operating in the area and the on-coming Christmas season.

Supt Smerdon said: “People need to make sure that they not only move things like tools and sat navs, but also any sign that things like sat navs might be hidden in the car.

“Insurance companies can ask us for details of a case, so if a laptop is left out on a front seat of a car that may affect a claim.”

He also added that for criminals to sell on stolen items there needed to be someone to sell to.

“It’s about the opportunism of criminals who will go out with no specific plan in mind except to thieve, whether that’s from a vehicle, shop, or burglary from a home. ”

Contact Norfolk police on 0845 4564567 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.