Tools-and-powers-for-tackling-criminal-damage by sdaferv


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									Tackling Damage to Vehicles
ABOUT THESE GUIDES This is one in a series of guides designed to share ideas for tackling vandalism and other forms of criminal damage. They are based, as far as possible, on examples we have found from around the UK and further afield. Although in most cases these have not been rigorously evaluated, they have been reported to have been successful in tackling this sort of crime. This guide outlines approaches to tackling damage to vehicles. Other guides already produced in this series are available at: Topics include tools and powers for tackling criminal damage, problem analysis, arson, repeat victimisation and tackling youth vandalism. These guides are updated as necessary, this is the second version of this guide. If you have any comments on this guide please email: WHY TACKLE DAMAGE TO VEHICLES? Damage to vehicles represents a large proportion of criminal damage overall. The British Crime Surveyi (BCS 2006/07) measured 2,993,000 offences of vandalism, of which just under 1.9 million were offences of vandalism to vehicles. This represents 17% of all BCS offences. Recorded crime figures (2006/07) show that 41% (483,266) of criminal damage was damage to vehicles. The level of damage to vehicles appears to be rising. BCS interviews for 2006/07 show a 12% increase in the number of incidents of vehicle vandalism when compared to the 2005/06 interviews. Levels of vehicle vandalism have been rising since a low of 1,511,000 in the 2001/02 BCS interviews. Successfully tackling damage to vehicles will help to reduce overall levels of criminal damage, thus increasing quality of life and public satisfaction, and reducing fear of crime. CHARACTERISTICS OF DAMAGE TO VEHICLES The BCS data for 2005/06ii shows that most damage to private vehicles involved scratched body work (38%), damaged body work (23%) and damage to wing mirrors (21%)1. o
BCS Reported Damage to Vehicles 2005/06: Type of Damage

Fire damage Damage to steering/ door lock Let down tyres Smashed windscreen Broken window (side) Slashed tyres Other Damage to wing mirrors Damage to bodywork Scratched bodywork 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40

Percentage Damage

The BCS (2005/06) shows that for households that own vehicles, the risk of victimisation from vehicle vandalism was higher in an area where there was a high perceived level of physical disorder (10%) compared with a low level (6%). MEASURING DAMAGE TO VEHICLES As with all criminal damage, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of the level of damage from police records alone. It is estimated that less than one in three incidents of criminal damage is reported to the police (BCS 2006/07). To get as accurate a picture as possible: o Engage with local transport companies, businesses and public services who may be able to provide a fuller picture. Check whether attempted thefts or vehicle interference are not distorting the figures for damage to vehicles. Incorrect counting will affect analysis and may result in the implementation of an inappropriate response. Consider whether the picture is distorted by false reports. Is accidental damage to wing mirrors in a narrow street, or bumpers in tight spaces being crimed?


The percentages in the table add up to more than 100% as more than one type of damage can be recorded per incident.

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ANALYSING THE PROBLEM Damage to vehicles is unlikely to have one single cause. Understanding the problem through analysis will help you find appropriate solutions. You may wish to look at: o o Whether the profile of damage in your area differs greatly from the national picture. If so, why might this be? The type of damage to vehicles – could the damage have been accidental (e.g. knocked wing mirrors in a narrow street) or intentional (e.g. keying several cars parked on a road)? The location of damage – is it taking place on the street, in car parks or private driveways? Links with the night time economy – is damage to vehicles happening in areas close to pubs and clubs? The time of day, and day of the week – are most incidents at night time, or during the day? Are there peaks in the level of damage to vehicles on particular days? Links with theft of or from vehicles and vehicle interference – are there common problems or factors?

Links to the Night Time Economy If damage to vehicles is happening in areas close to pubs or clubs, work with licensees and Night Time Economy managers to reduce damage to vehicles caused by revellers. Night bus services can help disperse people quickly from night time economy venues and away from town centres, which may reduce the likelihood of criminal damage incidents in those areas. Night marshals can be used to manage the main points at which people join the buses. Designing out crime Where problem analysis shows a hot spot for damage to vehicles, visit the site to identify the cause or contributory factors and consult with Crime Prevention Officers to find ways to design out crime. A lack of secure parking may be a contributory factor. If a hot spot is a car park then achieving the standards of the Police Safer Parking Scheme will help. You may wish to consider seeking to extend their opening hours into the night if damage is occurring at this time. Consider promoting the use of unused driveways or garages; there are a number of commercial organisations that act as brokers for the rental of unused parking spaces. Any provision of alternatives to on street parking should ensure that secure parking is provided in areas where it is needed and owners can make their way safely to and from the vehicle. If there are limited alternatives to on street parking, encouraging drivers to fold in wing mirrors and retract aerials may help to reduce damage. Crime Prevention Officers may be able to advise on the use of CCTV, improved lighting or visibility. In Great Yarmouth, where hotspot locations for damage to vehicles are identified, leaflets are sent to residents advising them to retract their aerial and fold in wing mirrors when they park. The leaflet also reminds them to remove visible items from the car and provides the crimestoppers number.

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The Jill Dando Institute worked with the Government Office for the West Midlands who identified a problem with damage to vehicles. Analysis of data, local intelligence and media reports indicated that the damage was mainly tyre slashing. Tyre slashing was found to be more prevalent at night and residential areas were heavily targeted. The analysis helped to identify a prolific offender.*

As part of their research on repeat victimisation, the Scottish Executive looked at repeats of damage to vehicles and theft from vehicles. They found that streets were often targeted on the same night and criminals tend to target one side of the street. They also found that some vehicles were particularly vulnerable.**

The Problem Analysis guide provides further information on this. REDUCING DAMAGE TO VEHICLES Your analysis of the local problem will inform appropriate actions. Some suggestions for tackling damage to vehicles are included here.

A longer term approach is to work with planning officers to ensure that secure parking provision is considered in new developments as well as identifying ways to reduce the vulnerability of vehicles in existing developments.

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Investigation and detection Neighbourhood policing teams have been effective in investigating damage to vehicles. Investing resource into investigation may yield greater benefit than detecting a single incident. An investigation into one incident of damage to a vehicle may uncover links with other incidents such as fights or disorder that have lead to accidental damage. Investigation into a spate of deliberate attacks on vehicles may enable the detection of a series of incidents. Police Community Support Officers at Moorlands West Neighbourhood Policing Unit visit any victims of vehicle damage, carry out house to house calls and leaflet drop crimestoppers information. This has seen an increase in calls to crimestoppers resulting in arrests and warrants being executed. As part of Operation Excalibur Lothian and Borders Police take photographs of criminal damage and publish them on their website with appeals for information. Detections are also published on the website. In one area a local male has been charged with 18 crimes of vandalism and break-ins to vehicles. Appeals to the public for information on offenders may bring positive results. Publicising the crimestoppers number and talking directly to local residents and businesses may provide useful information. Those committing damage to vehicles may be involved in other criminal activity or antisocial behaviour. Equally, work on other initiatives such as sweeps on untaxed and uninsured vehicles may help indirectly to reduce damage to vehicles. These may also have other benefits by increasing parking for legitimate vehicles, reducing their risk of victimisation. Interviews with known offenders may shed light not only on other offences which could be taken into consideration, but could also provide information on modus operandi and choice of target. (Surrey Police Campaign)

NEED MORE HELP? Further information and assistance on tackling criminal damage is also available via your regional Government Office / Welsh Assembly Government or from: i) Crime Reduction website (


British Crime Survey data 2006/07: Crime in England and Wales 2006/07: Home Office 2005/06 Nature of Crime Tables. * Burrell & Erroll (2006). A Real Rise in Crime or a Passing Spate? The Example of Tyre Slashing in the West Midlands. Government Office for West Midlands. Available at: ** Shaw & Pease (2000), Research on Repeat Victimisation in Scotland, Central Research Unit, Scottish Executive.

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