Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Two Carjackings Every Day on Streets of London; Targets Range from BMWs to Old Bangers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Two Carjackings Every Day on Streets of London; Targets Range from BMWs to Old Bangers

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL;JUSTIN DAVENPORT

CAR JACKINGS in London have soared by 25 per cent to more than 700 a year.

New figures show that, on average, two vehicles a day, many of them top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMWs, were taken last year.

In less than five years, 2,607 incidents have been recorded by the Met, peaking at 721 last year. Senior officers are to hold a summit about the rise and another in thefts from cars.

Experts say criminals are resorting to forcing drivers out of their vehicles because better in-car security has made them harder to steal when unattended.

Tories on the London Assembly obtained the statistics from Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Their policing spokesman, Richard Barnes, said: "This is a horrendous crime to experience. Being forced from your car when it is being stolen must be terribly frightening."

Carjacking shot to public attention in 2002 with the killing of estate agent Tim Robinson. The 25-year-old was stabbed in the chest seven times as he parked his [pounds sterling]20,000 Audi A3 Quattro outside his Battersea home.

Dwaine Williams, then 18 and described as one of south London's most prolific carjackers, was later jailed for life at the Old Bailey.

Other incidents have involved women motorists being punched in the face before their attackers, who often operate in pairs, drove off with their cars.

Police sources said knifepoint attacks were rare and it was far more common for cars to be stolen from petrol station forecourts or from outside schools when they were left open with the keys in the ignition.

However, there have been instances of thieves speeding off with children still in the back of the car. And one driver was bundled into the boot as carjackers made their getaway. Police say some top-oftherange vehicles are stolen to order for gangs either in Britain or abroad. …

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