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Surrey Police campaign drives down vehicle crime
2:37pm Friday 8th February 2013 in Local News
Vehicle crime across Surrey has been slashed by more than 40% at a peak time of year for offences.
The good news was announced by Surrey Police as it heralded its latest crackdown, named Operation Marjoram, a success.
"Gone in 60 seconds” was the central message behind the four-week campaign ran last month, sending a stark warning to motorists that thieves can break into cars and steal valuables within a minute.
Police made a total of 61 arrests during the campaign.
Of the 60 suspects arrested - some were arrested for more than one offence - four were women aged between 15 and 45, and the 56 men were mostly aged between 17 and 36. Five of the men arrested were from Reigate and Banstead borough.
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.
The campaign, hailed a success against the backdrop of a 41% fall in vehicle crime for January, 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 used 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 which was parked in key hot-spot areas throughout the county, acting as a warning to potential thieves and 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, 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 their valuables.
In addition, the campaign, which was also supported by radio advertising, included extra patrol teams focusing on hot-spot areas 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.
Superintendent Darren McInnes, 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.”
Supt McInnes said: “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.”