Beware of the Burglars

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HOUSE burglaries are being committed across Doncaster at the rate of around 40 a week, according to figures obtained by The Star.

Some areas fare worse than others - with Bessacarr, Edlington and Bentley among the blackspots.

Police acknowledge burglary is one of the worst crimes people suffer, and insist the figures are coming down.

Statistics revealed as part of The Star’s Your Right To Know campaign show there were a total of 2,054 domestic burglaries across the borough in 2010.

By 2011, that number had been reduced by 110 to 1,944.

The highest number was reported in Bessacarr and Cantley - one of the largest housing estates in Europe - where the figure was 224 in 2010, but reduced to 154 last year.

But the trend was reversed in Bentley were there were 145 in 2010 - but 200 in 2011.

In stark contrast the Belle Vue estate, albeit a much smaller area, had just one burglary in each of the two years.

Other low crime areas were Askern, with 38 and 34 in 2010 and 2011, and Doncaster town centre - not highly populated - with 59 and 56 for the same years.

The area with the biggest improvement in burglary statistics was Balby, where the figures dropped from 143 to 81.

The figures, broken down month by month, also show seasonal variations, with Spring a bad time for Bentley residents and April 2010 being the worst for Bessacarr householders with 37 reported break-ins - more than one a day.

Armthorpe experienced a quiet Spring last year but then a spike in the summer, with around 20 burglaries a month from June to August.

Victims and their neighbours are urged to use the latest technology to deter raiders in the future.

As well as burglar alarms - which Government statistics show result in 60 per cent of burglaries being unsuccessful - householders are encouraged to install CCTV cameras or sign up for the property register system which enables police to identify and trace property and return it if it is recovered.

Laptops can also be registered on to protect them.

Safer Neighbourhood Team officers are also available to carry out free crime reduction surveys to identify weak points.

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Whittaker, of Doncaster CID, said: “Burglary of dwellings is one of the most intrusive crimes, that often leaves victims feeling vulnerable and insecure in their home.

“We work tirelessly in Doncaster to reduce this type of crime by conducting ongoing proactive operations, executing warrants and arresting offenders.

“The work we undertake is reflected in the reductions from 2010 to 2011, and we are on target for a further reduction at the end of this financial year.

“The number of households can be one reason an area is subjected to the most burglary dwellings. Bessacarr is one of the larger areas in Doncaster, whereas Belle Vue is one of the smaller with very few households.

“To try and prevent becoming a victim of this crime, simple home security advice should always be followed: lock all doors and windows even when in the home, do not leaving keys or valuables on display, and never allow strangers into the home without first checking their ID or contacting the company they work for.”

“I felt sick knowing somebody had entered our property”

Mother-of-three Faye McNamara still finds it hard to come to terms with being a burglary victim.

Her family have owned the same neat semi-detached house in Edlington since it was bought by her grandparents more than 50 years ago, and it had never once been broken into - until a few weeks ago.

Faye first knew something was wrong when a neighbour from across the road called her mobile to say somebody had got into her house.

Faye, aged 34, said: “I left my house at 10.10am that day never expecting this.

“I came straight home and there was already a policewoman there telling me I couldn’t go inside. I could see the back door was open where he’d got in.

“Then the officers let me in to see what had been stolen. I could see some things had gone but then the police brought some of the goods back before I knew they had been taken.

“Luckily a neighbour had seen him breaking in and chased him over the gardens.

“He had taken a big soap powder box to put my laptop and other things in, but as he jumped over fences to get away things dropped out - and the laptop has never worked since we got it back.”

In all the family reckon the burglary has cost them nearly £1,000 in losses, damage and time off work to sort out the mess.

But there has also been a cost in Faye’s stress levels.

“I felt sick, ill, knowing that somebody had entered our property.

“It’s the fact that he’d been in our house when he had no right to break in. Materials can be replaced but your security can’t. I just felt so upset. He should never have done this to us.

“It’s not nice, I have never had to go through anything like that before. This house has never been burgled before, ever since my grandparents moved in.”

Faye’s youngest child, seven-year-old Lauren, had to spend the night at a friend’s house because she was scared the burglar would come back that night.

Luckily Lauren’s room was not one of those searched and her belongings were safe.

Faye is pleased that the raider has received a three-and-a-half year jail sentence but is not so happy he will not serve all that time behind bars.

“What annoys me is that he only serves half of that and is let out again. I think the law should be changed so that criminals serve the full sentence,” she said.