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Vehicle Crime Campaign Cuts Offences By 41%

Published on: 6 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 17 Feb, 2015
Superintendent Darren McInnes, who led Operation Marjoram with the wrapped car

Superintendent Darren McInnes, who led Operation Marjoram with the wrapped car

A county-wide vehicle crime campaign has been declared a success by Surrey Police this week after the number of offences committed across the county was slashed by 41%.

“Gone in 60 seconds” was the central message behind the four week campaign, sending a stark warning to motorists that thieves can break into your car and steal your valuables within a minute.

The initiative, named Operation Marjoram, focused on cracking down on thefts of and thefts from vehicles by targeting offenders and hot spot areas, as well as raising awareness amongst motorists about simple measures they could take to avoid falling victim to opportunist thieves.

The campaign also led to a 24% increase in the number of arrests and a 7.7% increase in the number of auto crime offences which were detected.

A “trap car” was deployed during the operation which was not stolen and will continue to remain operational.

The initiative also included the Vulnerable Vehicle Scheme, with more than 1,000 vehicles spotted which had been left insecure and offering easy pickings to opportunist thieves.

The campaign was supported by a ‘wrapped’ car [see above] which was parked in key hot spot areas throughout the county acting as a warning to both potential thieves and to vehicle owners to remove valuables and keep their vehicles locked.

The wrapping on the car showed the inside of the vehicle with various valuables left in it as a reminder to motorists how easy it is for thieves, with the messages “Don’t make it easy for thieves” and “Lock your car and remove all personal possessions”.

The car will continue to be driven across the county as a reminder to motorists to lock their vehicles and remove all their valuables.

The campaign was also supported by radio advertising reminding motorists to lock their vehicles even if they were only leaving them for a minute, and pointing out that cash, mobiles, laptops and handbags could all be “gone in 60 seconds” but that it takes longer to sort out insurance claims and getting damage fixed.

Activity also included extra patrol teams focusing on the hot spot areas within Surrey and offenders known to be linked to vehicle crime. The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) team stopped a number of vehicles known to have been stolen or have links to offenders, with the overall aim of reducing the offences of theft from and theft of motor vehicles.

Operational activity for Operation Candlelight, Surrey Police’s burglary campaign, was also extended to run alongside activities being carried out for Operation Marjoram. The campaign led to a number of arrests.

Superintendent Darren McInnes, who is leading Operation Marjoram on behalf of the force, said: “The success of this operation demonstrates just how effective targeting our resources to crack down on vehicle crime can be. We have seen a significant reduction in the number of offences at a time of year when we traditionally see a spike in the number of crimes being committed around the county.

“Our officers have shown tenacity and commitment in their efforts to increase the number of arrests and detections, and drive down vehicle crime. Everyone has been involved, and their efforts have certainly paid off. We have also been visiting different parts of the county with our wrapped car which reminds motorists to lock their vehicles and not to leave valuables in them. This has not only helped to raise awareness and deliver an important crime prevention message, but has also resulted in even greater engagement between our neighbourhood teams and our local communities.”

Operation stats:

  • Of the 61 arrests made during the month long campaign, 20 were made between midnight and 6am, 18 were made between 6am and midday, with 11 between midday and 6pm and 13 between 6pm and midnight.
  • Of the 60 suspects arrested (some were arrested for more than one offence), four were women aged between 15 – 45, with the 56 men arrested mostly aged between 17 – 36.
  • Ten of the men arrested were from Spelthorne, followed by seven who lived out of force and five from Reigate and Banstead.

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