Colchester: Worst places to park car revealed as crimes top 5,000 mark

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a passer-by jumped into action to extinguish

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a passer-by jumped into action to extinguish a fire at a rugby club last night. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

More than 5,000 vehicles have been targeted by criminals in the borough of Colchester over the past three years, figures have revealed.

The East Anglian Daily Times can today name the worst hotspots for vehicle crime across Colchester’s 27 wards between 2010 and 2012.

The statistics, from a Freedom of Information request to Essex police, reveal that a total of 5,299 vehicle crimes were committed in the borough in the period.

Drivers who park in Castle ward are more likely to have their vehicle targeted by criminals than in any other ward with 678 crimes reported to Essex police.

The crimes included 341 incidents of criminal damage, 283 thefts from motor vehicles, 33 thefts of motor vehicles, 15 incidents of interference, five unauthorised taking of motor vehicles and one racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage to a vehicle.

Jo Hayes, ward councillor for Castle, said: “The figures indicate that the trend for vehicle crime in Castle ward is quite strongly downwards during the three years covered.

“As the ward includes a busy town centre, the figures are not expected.

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“Cars are supremely portable wealth and a temptation to some. It is also true that cars cause congestion and air pollution. There are alternative forms of transport and people have a choice.”

Second in the table was St Andrews with 603 crimes followed by New Town with 542 offences.

An Essex police spokesman said: “While the figures are reducing thanks to policing operations and increased care security, we would like to take this opportunity to remind motorists about car security.

“Opportunist thieves and career criminals don’t need any invitation to offend; they will seize upon any lapse in security no matter if it’s intentional or pure forgetfulness.

“Drivers should keep the doors of their vehicles locked and windows shut once parked.

“It may sound obvious, but unlocked doors and open windows are invitations to thieves so make sure your vehicle is secure.

“It only takes seconds for a thief to make off with your belongings.

“Finally, and crucially, don’t leave anything valuable on display.”

The top three worst places for thefts of cars are St Andrews with 63 followed by New Town on 43 and Berechurch and Harbour with 36 each.

The wards with the lowest numbers of vehicle crimes in Colchester are Pyefleet with 31, Great Tey with 48 and Copford and West Stanway on 53.

Although there were 5,299 vehicle crimes over the last three years, it is on the decrease with 1,560 incidents reported last year compared to 1,835 in 2011 and 1,904 recorded the previous year.