Vehicle crime on the increase

Forest Heath has seen vehicle crime rise by nearly a third over the past year.

Figures released by Suffolk Police show that vehicle crime increased by 29 per cent with 557 incidents reported over the past 12 months.

This increase was not seen across other districts in West Suffolk.

While St Edmundsbury saw a small rise of three per cent, both Babergh and Mid Suffolk saw a fall in vehicle crime.

Inspector Neil Ireland said: “Unfortunately, thefts from motor vehicles is an issue for us at the moment, but we’re working hard to tackle the problem proactively.

“When officers attend such incidents, many vehicles are found to be insecure, making it all too easy for thieves to open the door and take what they like.

“We are strongly urging residents to remove all valuables from their vehicles and ensure all doors and windows are properly locked.”

Forest Heath also saw a rise in domestic burglary, which increased by four per cent with 147 crimes reported.

The rise was the largest in comparison to other districts in West Suffolk. Both St Edmundsbury and Babergh saw a fall in domestic burglaries and Mid Suffolk recorded a rise of only one per cent.

Cases of robbery in the district also increased by 55 per cent to 17.

Across Suffolk, a rise of nine per cent was recorded but all other districts in West Suffolk saw a reduction in the number of robberies with both Mid Suffolk and Babergh recording falls of 71 per cent.

Overall, crime in the district fell by 0.7 per cent from 4,317 reported crimes in 2010-2011 to 4,286 in 2011-2012.

Insp Ireland said: “Forest Heath continues to be a safe part of Suffolk.”

Criminal damage continues to be the most committed crime in the district, despite 183 fewer cases recorded during 2011-2012 than 2010-2011.

Criminal damage fell across the county but Forest Heath’s 22 per cent fall was the biggest in West Suffolk.

Insp Ireland said: “This is a testament to the hard work of Safer Neighbourhood Teams to engage with local youngsters on projects such as the street sports initiative.

“Officers have been educating persistent offenders on the knock-on effects of anti-social behaviour and working closely with individuals to change their behaviour in the long-term.”