Police catch fewer than one in 10 burglars in South Yorkshire, new figures reveal today.
South Yorkshire Police solve nine per cent of burglaries – below the national average of 12.2 per cent.
Home Office figures for the 2013-14 financial year rank South Yorkshire Police as the fourth worst in the country for solving burglaries.
Sheffield burglary victim and Normandy veteran Don Walker, aged 92, today said: “This must be very encouraging news for the burglars but not for victims.”
Figures also show that between April 2014 and March 2015 South Yorkshire had the third highest burglary rate in the country – with 10.4 offences committed per 1,000 people.
But in the 12 months to September last year there were 6,194 household burglaries reported – a 17 per cent reduction on the year before.
Burglaries in Sheffield last year dropped by 20 per cent, with 2,871 offences recorded compared to 3,614 the year before.
Supt Scott Green, South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for burglary said: “Burglary is a highly intrusive crime which can have a lasting impact on the victim, and we are committed to bringing the offenders responsible for such crimes to justice.
“Through various targeted operations, campaigns, education around crime prevention and hard work from our officers, the number of burglaries across South Yorkshire has fallen by 14 per cent from September 2014 to September 2015.
“Although this number has fallen, we are far from complacent and we take any report of a burglary extremely seriously and will investigate all matters thoroughly to hopefully provide a successful outcome.
“While our detection percentage remains at nine per cent, we continue to work hard to prosecute offenders while working with partners and residents to target burglaries.”
World War Two hero Don Walker was burgled in May 2014 but the culprit was never caught.
Don, who spent 10 months as a prisoner of war, was burgled while visiting his sick wife in a nursing home.
A small amount of cash was taken and his military medals were found, but police believe the burglar may have been disturbed and dropped them as they fled.
He said: “Unfortunately you can’t have a policeman in every house and although we all do our best with locks and alarms and the like if a burglar wants in they will find a way.
“It is very worrying to hear how many burglars are caught and my worry has always been that they will come back.
“I felt gutted when I walked in and saw all the mess – drawers turned out and things all over the floor, it was very upsetting.”
Dan Stamp, 22, a Sheffield Hallam University student living in Hammerton Road, Walkley, was burgled just before Christmas.
“To be honest the police were pretty good. They were here within half and hour but the forensic guy only stayed for two minutes,” he said.
“They didn’t catch who did it. This is the second time I’ve been burgled in the four years I’ve lived here.”
“The took my PS4, laptop and my rucksack which had all my uni work in. I lost all the work for my masters.”
Chris Painter, 22, a University of Sheffield student burgled last year, said: “We never found out who did it.
“The police took our statement and they gave us a pack of alarms to go on the windows.
“They gave advice to put locks on the windows but in terms of their presence we never saw them again.”
Police and crime commissioner Dr Alan Billings said: “The number of burglaries across the country has been falling for years.
“In part this is because police have been targeting well-known offenders and disrupting their activities - as South Yorkshire Police have been doing with some success.
“In part it is because householders have been getting better at safeguarding their property, sometimes with police guidance.
“Part of my role is to ensure that the South Yorkshire force get underneath any statistics to understand why some communities or groups of people seem more vulnerable than others - such as older people or student houses - and what measures need to be taken to give better protection and improve detection rates.
“Any burglary is taken very seriously because the violation of a person’s home feels like a violation of the person themselves. It can traumatise or prey on the mind for many years afterwards.
“But the police also need local intelligence from the community, which is why we must remain committed to neighbourhood policing, difficult though this has becomes with the cuts in funding.
“There is no substitute for having police and Police Community Support Officers who know their communities well.”
Call South Yorkshire Police on 101 to report burglars and those who handle stolen goods.