Bid to beat vandalism in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 09:40 19 June 2009 | UPDATED: 21:48 31 May 2010

CRIMINAL damage is rife in the community and Saffron Walden is taking the brunt of the impact, Uttlesford s senior police officer has revealed. Scratched cars, smashed windows and broken fences are becoming a familiar blight on Saffron Walden s landscape

CRIMINAL damage is rife in the community and Saffron Walden is taking the brunt of the impact, Uttlesford's senior police officer has revealed.

Scratched cars, smashed windows and broken fences are becoming a familiar blight on Saffron Walden's landscape and across the region.

Now, District Commander for Uttlesford, Chief Insp Joe Wrigley, has challenged the community to help banish the problem of vandalism.

"Whilst we're lucky to live and work in one of the lowest crime areas in the country we must still do everything we can to drive our crime level down even further," said Chief Insp Wrigley.

"By far and away our biggest challenge is petty criminal damages taking place in our district."

From the beginning of April to the end of May there were 139 offences of criminal damage across the district and Chief Insp Wrigley believes "it is time that this stopped".

The district commander's words were echoed at the North Uttlesford Community Forum held on Thursday.

Inspector Kevin Wakefield from Saffron Walden Police Station told the forum that in 2008/09, 23 per cent of all crime in Uttlesford was criminal damage.

"These offences are difficult to detect because there is no rhyme or reason to them and no pre-planning," said Insp Wakefield. "Often they are spur-of-the-moment actions which result in high-value crimes."

He added that the cost of criminal damage was handed to the community through insurance premiums and council tax costs.

The police are asking parents to talk to young people - the group most likely to commit criminal damage - and get them to understand the impact it can have on individuals and communities.

People are being urged to call 999 if they see anyone committing criminal damage or their local police station on 0300 333 4444 if they have information about who is responsible. Anonymous calls can be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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