Torbay Neighbourhood Watch: Senseless criminal damage must be one of most irritating crimes

Torbay Weekly

Deliberately destroying, or permanently damaging another person's property is criminal damage and last month there was a rise in the number of reported cases.

There are many different types of crime but senseless, criminal damage must be one of the most irritating.

It is almost always done by someone unknown to the victim, is done quickly, when no-one else is about and is done for a giggle.

Cars, mainly in Torquay, were targeted, leaving victims cross, and out of pocket.

The lucky, 'chosen' vehicles were scratched, their wing mirrors were damaged or broken off, they had paint sprayed on them, their windows were smashed, the glass covers of their lights were smashed and their tyres were slashed.

It is a long list that includes deliberate, meaningless damage to dwellings and shops, as well as cars.

Most of these crimes were not an attempt to gain access into a vehicle, or dwelling where the criminal would probably have found money, or items of value to sell, they were committed for fun, not for monetary gain.

Those who study crime and criminals believe that people who commit this particular, purposeless kind of crime will usually have someone with them, for the perpetrator needs to know that their efforts are admired by a hugely appreciative audience.

Without an audience, it is thought that perhaps, the crime may not happen.

Any actor will tell you how very necessary an appreciative audience is to their self confidence and self-esteem.

Perhaps this desire for recognition is shared by both actors and senseless, criminal damagers.

Insurance companies usually include an excess clause in their policies, and this means that it is just not worth while claiming for something small, like a new wing mirror, a few surface scratches on a car door, or water-based paint thrown over a wall or car, so the victim has to pay. Another reason to feel cross.

However, criminal damage is more than just a nuisance, it is a crime, so you can do something positive about it by reporting it to the police.

It won't take long. Just a quick email to telling them what, where and when.

It may - if we are lucky - fit in with a pattern of similar crimes in that particular area.

Challenging bad behaviour may prevent those who are 'getting away with it' from becoming a bigger worry to the community. 'A stitch in time...' so to speak.

Information about crime, or suspicious behaviour, could bring a criminal to justice and prevent them from finding yet another victim, and if you witness a crime, you have a vital role to play in bringing a bad person to justice.

Always remember that their next victim might be you, or someone you love.

And that is why crime prevention is at the heart of Neighbourhood Watch.

Members of a scheme will automatically take notice of a stranger hanging about in their road and will know about crime in their neighbourhood.

As well as a spate of criminal damage, Torbay also 'enjoyed' the usual crimes - stolen bicycles, thefts of mopeds and motorcycles, petty theft from supermarkets, opportunists climbing through open windows and running off with wallets and handbags.

We should all keep sharp-eyed, especially about our own treasurers, for if we don't look after them - no-one else will.

Crime is everywhere, but we are very lucky to be living here, for Devon is among the 10 safest counties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, thanks to our lads and lassies in blue.

Find out about crime in your area:- Torquay - Paignton - Brixham -

Find out more about Torbay Neighbourhood Watch, email or call 01803 218180 (please leave a message and telephone number.