POLICE met concerned residents last night to talk about how officers are trying to tackle an increase in burglaries in a Sheffield suburb.
The event in Gleadless Valley was organised after a Tenants and Residents Association contacted South Yorkshire Police over the number of homes burgled over recent months.
In the last five weeks alone there have been 24 break-ins reported and over the last 12 months offences have rocketed to 276 compared to 200 the year before.
Inspector Ian Stubbs, of the Woodseats and Gleadless Valley Safer Neighbourhood Policing Teams, said the increase is mirrored in suburbs across the city.
Police chiefs blame a combination of factors for the increase, including the economic climate and the release of a number of prolific offenders from prison at a similar time.
But in Gleadless Valley Insp Stubbs said the increase there is linked to a group of youths, the youngest just 13, who have been getting into homes by smashing patio doors with bricks and grabbing valuables left on display.
He said one member of the group was jailed for two-and-a-half years this week at Sheffield Crown Court and said a number of court cases are pending.
“We have seen a significant increase in burglaries across the whole city and this week’s public meeting has been organised after concerns were raised by local residents.
“A lot of hard work has been done to combat this increase and the result is that there has been one burglary reported this week compared to six the week before, three the week before that and seven and seven over the two weeks before.
“There have been some good arrests made and for the last five weeks we have been running Operation Catch in Gleadless Valley, which is a proactive operation with additional patrols.
“We have also secured some funding from the council to buy some SmartWater which we will be using at the homes of victims and in vulnerable properties as a deterrent to burglars.
Anyone with information about burglaries in Gleadless Valley should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.