Just three per cent of car thefts end in conviction

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WIGAN motorists have only a three per cent chance of justice if their vehicle is targeted by crooks.

Thousands of thefts from cars in the borough happen each year and the latest statistics have revealed that police rarely manage to prosecute the perpetrators.

Figures released through a Freedom of Information request have revealed that there have been nearly 5,000 reported thefts from motor vehicles in the borough, yet only three per cent have led to a conviction and hundreds more could go unreported.

The data, released by Greater Manchester Police, revealed that there were 4,872 thefts from vehicles reported to them between April 2009 and March 2012, yet only 165 convictions.

GMP say they are doing all they can to educate people on not leaving valuables on show, but these latest figures show that thefts are still rife in Wigan borough.

Chief Insp Gareth Hughes said: “When comparing recorded crime with numbers of offenders placed before the courts, it is important to remember that some offenders commit more than one crime.

“It also needs to be acknowledged that there are a number of different ways that we can deal with offenders other than court prosecutions.

“These options include: Restorative Justice, final warnings, reprimands and cautions. Of particular relevance to vehicle crime is the number of offences taken into consideration at court; some of our offenders are brought to book for multiple offences.

“If you take into account all of these ways of dealing with offenders, the rate at which we solve thefts from vehicles is improving all the time, with 8 per cent in 2009/2010 rising to 10.6 per cent in 2011/2012. Since April this year our solved rate for all vehicle crime currently stands at 16.3 per cent.

“This increase in detection is down to the professionalism of our dedicated Volume Crime Team (VCT); combining their intelligence-led work with improvements in crime scene investigation to make the most of forensic opportunities.

“GMP prioritises all reports of vehicle crime to ensure as rapid response to a new report as possible, and our VCT makes sure that every vehicle crime investigation is properly reviewed to ensure no opportunities to identify offenders are missed.

“I should add, that everyone can contribute to the continuing reduction in vehicle crime by ensuring that when they leave their vehicles they are properly locked, and by removing any property from view within their vehicles.”