THE police chief responsible for driving down crime in Sheffield took to the city’s streets in a crackdown on burglary.
Chief Superintendent David Hartley, Sheffield’s district commander, went out on patrol on Friday night as part of a blitz on burglary he is overseeing following a hike in break-ins over recent months.
Some 3,266 house burglaries have been reported in Sheffield over the last 10 months – a rise of 8 per cent compared to the same period the year before.
South Yorkshire Police have stepped up patrols, with every available officer out on the streets as a deterrent to criminals.
They are also on the look out for known prolific offenders released back into the community from prison over recent months.
Chf Supt Hartley said: “Burglary is our priority. There are a combination of factors such as the national economic climate and the release of a number of offenders back into the community after serving custodial sentences which have come together to result in an unprecedented level of burglaries.
“We are putting every effort into having every available resource out there to catch these people with operations all through the day and night.
“I want to grip this quickly – I don’t want this spike in crime to go on for weeks and weeks, so I am bringing in the necessary resources to deal with it.
“We are not talking about sophisticated crimes but opportunist thieves looking for homes which they see as easy targets – those with no lights on, no CCTV, no burglar alarms – they are in and out very quickly before moving on to the next.
“The impact of burglaries in victims is enormous - for someone to come into your home and steal your personal belongings not only hits you financially, but psychologically and my job is to minimise the number of people who have to suffer that trauma.
“There is no tolerance here – anyone that burgles a home will face all the resources we can muster.”
Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, has warned increases in thefts and break-ins are to be expected during times of recession.
He spoke out following the release of last year’s crime figures for South Yorkshire, which revealed an overall 7 per cent reduction in recorded offences, but increases in burglaries, robberies, shoplifting and fraud.
He said: “While any form of crime cannot and will not be tolerated, those relating to personal property and the safety and wellbeing of the people of South Yorkshire remain highest on the priority list.”
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “These crimes are a concern to us and we are working very hard to reduce them – that’s where our focus is at the moment.”