How crime is exploding in the capital

Carjacking, drug wars, guns and mobile phone thefts
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The Independent Online

CARJACKING

Tim Robinson, an estate agent aged 25, was stabbed through the heart in front of his girlfriend, Jemma Joyce, 26, outside their home in Battersea, south-west London, on 27 January. He had apparently stopped to help two men who had asked for directions. The killers fled on foot after the attack, leaving the vehicle behind. Four men aged between 17 and 20 have been arrested and released on police bail.

* There were an estimated 1,200 carjackings in the capital last year, some involving high-performance cars. Eighty per cent of the vehicles were later recovered.

* The Metropolitan Police has estimated that there are five or six teams of thieves operating in the capital concentrating on carjacking.

DRUG WARS

A Yardie gangster fired a stream of bullets from an Uzi sub-machine-gun into a Ford Mondeo during a car chase in south-west London last Friday. The Mondeo was riddled with holes during the chase but the driver escaped to Battersea police station. His passenger was found dead in his seat.

* The number of black-on-black killings has continued to rise. In 2001 there were 21 murders and 94 attempted murders. Last month alone, there were three murders and 21 attempted murders.

* Black-on-black killings, usually linked to drugs, respect or territory, make up a substantial share of the total number of murders in the capital which, in 2000-2001, stood at 171.

GUN CRIME

Two men were shot dead and a third stabbed when two gunmen burst into the Good Companions pub in south Croydon on Saturday evening as families were eating. One man was shot in the head at point-blank range, another was shot in the chest, and a third, who survived, was shot in the arm and stabbed. The shootings happened after a fight between two groups of men at the nearby White Lion pub in Warlingham.

* In 2001, there were 3,986 reports of guns being used during crimes in the capital. They included 27 murders and 108 cases of grievous bodily harm.

* Police accept that gun crime has increased sharply although Scotland Yard does not have year-on-year figures.

MOBILE PHONE THEFT

Dean Healey, 23, was jailed for four years last month for attacking a teenager and stealing his mobile phone. Healey and an accomplice approached Lee Staples, above, in Streatham High Road, south London, before punching him in the face and kicking him. He was jailed after Lord Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, said robustsentences were needed to curb the alarming rise in mobile phone theft.

* Last year there were more than 45,000 street crimes in London, of which about half involved mobile phone theft. Nationally, more than 700,000 mobiles were stolen last year.

* A Home Office report said most of the suspected phone thieves were black, including 71 per cent of youths accused of the crime in London.