Tong is the Council ward worst-hit by vehicle theft during the last two years, the Telegraph & Argus can reveal today following a Freedom of Information request.
As reported in the T&A yesterday, a total of 4,142 cars, vans and other vehicles have been stolen across the Bradford district during 2016 and 2017
Now, as part of a mini-series of articles focussing on vehicle crime, we can reveal that 243 of those incidents have taken place in the Tong ward – just under one every two days.
In Tong, the highest number of vehicles were stolen on the long main roads Broadstone Way (21) and Tong Street (11).
Overall, the road in the Bradford district with the highest number of stolen vehicles was Harrogate Road, which runs through Undercliffe, Eccleshill and Idle and Thackley wards, where 25 thefts were reported.
Cllr Hassan Khan (Lab, Bowling and Barkerend) said car crime was a “serious issue” for residents.
He said: “If you ask for a car insurance quote in BD3 you find it is two times higher than other areas. Tow trucks have come and taken vehicles away from houses while residents are sleeping. It’s really distressing for the people who lose their cars, which they have worked hard to buy.”
He said: “These figures are very concerning. The police are doing an incredibly difficult job and the Government has slashed their funding. The police and council would be able to do an even better job if their funding was restored. Cuts are having a great impact.”
Bingley Rural ward had the sixth highest number of thefts at 156, but Cllr Simon Cooke (Con, Bingley Rural) said criminals, not cuts, are to blame. He said: “Crime is committed by criminals and the number of police doesn’t always affect the number of criminals. We have had an increase in the number of people who think it’s a good idea to steal people’s cars and I genuinely don’t think that’s the Government’s fault.
“We are right to look at funding for the police. But we also need to look at why there is this problem in Bradford and how it links to organised crime.”
Labour MP for Bradford South, Judith Cummins, said: “Having a vehicle stolen can be a traumatic and costly experience. Police at Bradford District assure me they are doing everything they can to ensure vehicle thieves are brought to book and I will continue to work closely with officers to monitor the situation.
“But I know that the police also need as many resources as possible to tackle this problem. That’s why I have consistently raised the issue of cuts to police funding with the Government.”
A spokesperson for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “We absolutely do not underestimate the impact of having your vehicle stolen and West Yorkshire Police work tirelessly to prevent crime, tackle offenders and recover vehicles where possible.
“However the police can only work with the resources they have and reduced funding of over £140m since 2010 have resulted in the loss of 2000 police jobs. This clearly has had an impact however the Police and Crime Commissioner, along with the regions MPs will continue to fight for a fairer funding deal for West Yorkshire.
“Through the support of our communities, using money raised locally through council tax, the Police and Crime Commissioner has been able to set budgets over the last couple of years to start to increase the number of police officers in West Yorkshire. This increase has also led to the development of a new team of officers dedicated to roads policing who will proactively operate across West Yorkshire to tackle criminals using our roads.
“There are also some simple measures you can take to reduce the chances of being targeted by thieves including, ensuring your vehicle is locked and not leaving keys on view. Further crime prevention advice can be found on West Yorkshire Police’s website.”