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27th Jun, 2022

FORCE FOCUS: The crime which grabbed the attention of the country

There are many crimes that come as a shock to the victim and their close family and friends.

But every now and again a crime is committed that grabs the attention of the country. Last Thursday an incident in Acocks Green did just that.

It was 4pm when Clare O’Neill pulled up at her home in her Audi A3. Claire had her new-born baby with her, but as she arrived two men demanded the keys to her car. Her instinct as a mother kicked in and she fought as hard as she could to get her baby girl out of the vehicle before the men stole it. But the pair beat Claire and drove off with her Audi.

Devastatingly, baby Eliza was still inside.

Thankfully the thieves abandoned Clare’s daughter at a health centre and she was reunited with her mother in hospital soon after. Car-jacking is a harrowing crime, but this one could have ended so much worse.

Thankfully incidents like this are very rare, but I am pressing for more to be done to tackle the problem of car thefts.

Last year nearly 10,000 vehicles were stolen in the West Midlands. Almost double the number than in 2015. That’s why I will soon be publishing a list of the makes of the cars being stolen most often in our region. I’m doing this for two reasons. Firstly, because I want motorists to know which vehicles are most likely to be stolen. Drivers need to know the facts when they are purchasing a car. Secondly, it is also high time motor manufacturers tighten their car’s security. As keyless technology has grown, car thefts have too. Now it is time for these mega multinational companies to start making life for thieves just that little bit trickier.

I’ve also written to Amazon and eBay calling on them to remove electrical devices from their site which allow people to clone car keys. Amazon have not responded. With eBay I may soon have more positive news.

West Midlands Police also know I want them to do more. They are clamping down on the so-called chop-shops where stolen cars are broken down for parts before being sold on. This is vital work and they know they have my full backing.

What is for sure, is doing nothing is not an option any more.

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