Plea to crime victims: Don't waste any time
Police have urged robbery victims to help them catch the culprits by reporting the crimes immediately.
Officers are concerned they are losing vital time in the hunt for street robbers because people are not calling them for up to five hours after the incident.
Belgrave, in Leicester, has been hit by a spate of snatch thefts, during which gold necklaces have been pulled from around the victims' necks.
Two thefts of mobile phones by young men on bikes have also been reported to police in the past two weeks.
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Sergeant Sarah Widdowson, of Melton Road police station, said: "We need people to telephone us straight away, whether it's the victim, a friend or relative phoning on their behalf, or a witness. On occasions, we're not getting a report until four or five hours after the offence and that really hinders us.
"It's understandable people want to get home and recover from the shock.
"But, if we get the call quickly we can get officers to the area straight away and start searching for anyone who matches the description.
"Also, if we can get an idea of the direction the offenders were heading, we can also use the area's CCTV to start monitoring the area to try to find them."
In Belgrave, the number of thefts or robberies where items of gold were taken has risen from 27 between April and the end of November last year to 47 in the same period this year.
A woman whose gold necklace was snatched earlier this year on Melton Road urged victims to come forward.
She said: "I did tell the police what happened to me. That is the right thing to do, because these people need to be caught.
"The police can only do that if people talk to them."
Ratilal Govind, co-ordinator of Belgrave United Neighbourhood Watch, said: "In some cases, people are waiting several hours before they tell the police what has happened.
"That only makes it difficult for the police to catch the people who are carrying out these robberies.
"People have to report these incidents quickly to give the police that chance.
"If they do not have a telephone they could go into any shop or the neighbourhood centre and I am sure people there will call for them."
The number of robberies reported to police in the city in the past year has fallen by 28 per cent, the equivalent of 129 offences, compared to the previous year.
Police are running a city-wide campaign to educate young people – victims in about half of reported street robberies – to take simple steps to minimise the risk of them being targeted.
The advice includes:
When carrying a bag, keep it close to your body, with the strap over your shoulder.
Spread your valuables around – your mobile in your bag and money in your jacket.
If someone attempts to grab your bag, let them take it, rather than risk injury.
Try to stay in a group or, if alone, stick to well-lit routes.
Register valuables at the address below as it can help police return stolen goods.