Newham's worst streets for shoplifting revealed as police forced to drop crime reports
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 December 2019
Less than a fifth of shoplifting crimes in Newham are being solved as police say they are too stretched to work on "lower level" offences.
From January 2017 to September 2019, businesses in the borough called police 6,208 times about people trying to steal their wares.
Of these 5,033 reports - or 81 per cent - have been closed with no suspect identified, are still under investigation or have not been updated since the original report.
A police spokeswoman said: "The Met is under various pressures including financial challenges and increasing demand.
"As a result we are having to take decisions about how we prioritise our resources.
"Homicide, kidnap, sexual offences or domestic violence continue to be fully investigated.
"But lower-level, higher-volume offences such as shoplifting will have the policy applied to them to decide what level of investigation is appropriate."
Across Newham more than half of the shoplifting incidents in two years - 3,251 - took place in Stratford and New Town, with 83 people sent to prison as a result.
You may also want to watch:
The other worst-hit wards were East Ham Central with 796 crime reports, Beckton with 580, and Forest Gate South with 313.
According to police data, there have been 1,163 reported thefts from supermarkets, 459 in shopping centres and 221 on or around secondary schools and colleges.
Himanshu Jain, vice-chairman of Newham Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised by the low resolution rate.
He added: "It's concerning to the chamber and our members that this is happening. Shoplifting poses a lot of issues for small businesses and we've seen police cuts over a number of years.
"But there is also a collective responsibility. In High Street North, many traders are connected to each other using radio links, and there's also Pubwatch [a scheme for licensed premises to share information about crime and anti-social behaviour]."
The worst-hit road in the whole of Newham for shoplifting was Claps Gate Lane, where 192 shoplifting offences were reported in two years.
The road borders on the Beckton Triangle Retail Park and the Sainsbury's Beckton Superstore and petrol station.
Another 117 incidents were reported from a tiny cul-de-sac in East Ham, Ray Massey Way, which runs behind the phone shops, takeaways and Iceland of High Street North.
Other hotspots were Litchfield Avenue in Stratford, where 75 crimes were reported, Myrtle Road in East Ham, with 55, and Maitland Road in Forest Gate South, with 38.