Islington’s shoplifting hotspots revealed as Met Police screen out “low value” crimes

A complaint was lodged with Islington Council but the local authority never publicly corrected the s

A complaint was lodged with Islington Council but the local authority never publicly corrected the statemen. Picture:Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Thieves have targeted businesses in Islington more than 4,000 times in two years - but the vast majority of crimes are going unsolved.

According to Met Police data, between January 2017 and September this year shopkeepers called police 4,045 times about attempts to steal their wares.

But of these reports, 2,993 or 73 per cent were either closed with no suspect identified, are still under investigation or have not been updated since the original report.

Just 83 perpetrators have been sent to prison. Another 36 were handed suspended sentences and 38 were slapped with community sentences.

Eighteen people cautioned and 32 were fined, but just four people to date have been ordered to pay compensation to shopkeepers.

A Met Police spokesperson 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."

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Under the Met's new General Investigations Policy, she said: "Lower level, higher volume offences such as shoplifting, car crime and criminal damage will have the policy applied to them to decide what level of investigation is appropriate.

"With the pressure on our resources it is not proportionate for our officers to spend a considerable amount of time looking into a low-value theft offence."

The largest number of shoplifting crimes - a total of 783 - took place in St Mary's ward and 18 people have been sent to prison as a result.

The other worst-hit wards were Finsbury Park with 647 crime reports, Barnsbury with 556, and St Peter's with 478.

According to police data, there have been 1,154 reported thefts from supermarkets and 390 in shopping centre.

The worst-hit road in the whole of Islington was Upper Street, where 349 shoplifting-related crimes have been reported in less than two years.

This was followed by Holloway Road with 121 and the tiny Camden Passage off Upper Street, which police were called to on no fewer than 90 occasions.

Scores of other locations in Islington have been blighted by would-be thefts more than ten times in two years. There were 52 incidents reported in St Paul's Road, Canonbury, 18 in Blackstock Road and 12 in Highgate Hill.