ROBBERY rates in Coventry have plummeted in the last year as police crackdown on organised crime in the city.
Latest figures released by West Midlands Police reveal a 16 per cent reduction in robberies – including armed shop attacks – between April 2015 and February 2016 compared to the year before.
And the force argues this is thanks to success of Operation Blue Steel.
The initiative, aimed at ramping up pressure on gangs, is a multi-pronged attack on organised criminality in the city – not only pursuing criminals, but working alongside local people and organisations from preventing others from joining a life of crime.
By building up an intricate picture on the lifestyles of suspected criminals, Coventry police are able to find opportunities to disrupt their activity.
Coventry Police Chief Inspector Warren Little, said: “We get to know what benefits these individuals are claiming, what cars they drive, links to businesses, where they are living, and people they are linked to.
“It’s enabled us to uncover fraudulent benefit and housing claims – stripping suspects of a revenue stream – and we’ve also identified a number of fraudulent car insurance applications.
Ch Insp Little described how one gang member changed his age, occupation and marital status four times on insurance forms before he was caught for fraud and banned from driving.
Last September, another man was jailed for conspiracy to burgle homes in Warwickshire after information supplied to Operation Blue Steel showed he was driving a scrap metal van without the appropriate works licence.
Detectives discovered the 32-year-old was using the scrap van as a front to scope burglary targets and he was later given a 40-month prison sentence for conspiracy to commit burglary.
Ch Insp Little, added: “We’re looking for intelligence that points to criminality: it could be someone declaring minimal income from a business but who’s driving around in a luxury car and lives in an expensive home.
“We’ll make all sorts of checks to ensure they are operating legally… and if we can unearth any information suggesting otherwise it affords us an opportunity to delve deeper.
“The partnership has worked brilliantly for Blue Steel and it’s a model West Midlands Police is looking to replicate across the force area.”