More than 800 Kingston businesses fell victim to thieves last year

Surrey Comet: Chicoland fell victim to deep fat fryer robbers last year Chicoland fell victim to deep fat fryer robbers last year

More than 800 businesses in Kingston fell victim to thieves and robbers in the past year, according to the latest police figures.

A new report is calling for small businesses to be armed with DNA sprays to deter criminals, as well as launching a digital crime database to track trends and hotspots.

The Metropolitan Police’s latest crime mapping data shows 872 businesses in the borough have reported crimes in 2013/14 so far, with 15 robberies and 857 thefts.

It means Kingston is currently 19th out of 33 London boroughs for business crime.

A total of 28,889 crimes against businesses have been recorded so far across London.

A new report by Conservative Greater London Assembly member Roger Evans said the actual figure could be much higher, as many small businesses fail to report crimes.

In his report, High Street Blues, Mr Evans said police should take a more proactive approach in helping reduce small business crime, including handing out DNA sprays to small businesses to deter would be criminals.

DNA sprays leave an invisible solution on trespassers that can stick to clothes, hair and skin for several weeks.

The spray can be traced back to each individual shop, given conclusive proof that the suspect was in the premises.

Conservative GLA Member for Kingston, Tony Arbour, said: “Distributing DNA sprays would act as an effective deterrent.

“It would mean that the Met would save money, as if the crime doesn’t happen in the first place, officers wouldn’t need to spend their time on investigations and the court process.”

Jerry Irving, chief executive of Kingston Chamber of Commerce, said: “You have to ask whether these figures are accurate, in terms of how many crimes are going unreported.

"But I do think the Met Police work hard in Kingston, and have a good strategy to keep crime down."

Kingstonfirst chief executive Ros Morgan said: “In the last year, we have made six town centre exclusions and shop theft is down by 11 per cent.

“We are proud that Kingston is one of the safest boroughs in London."

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