House burglars brought under control by police action after offence rates soared

Burglary rates have been sent tumbling in Rotherham following a spike last year which saw numbers of offences double over the space of six months.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 4:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 4:20 pm
Offender management: Police put controls on known burglars

Police have driven numbers back down to around 100 incidents per month in the town, broadly the same rate communities were experiencing this time last year, but that comes after a period where break-ins were increasing every month, to a high of 223 offences in October last year.

One of the most seriously affected areas was Swinton and that is a district where habitual burglars were known to live, so they have been subjected to effective action by police.

As a follow-up, Operation Shield is also being launched in the community. That is South Yorkshire Police’s anti-burglary operation which has already proved effective in parts of Doncaster and the Gleadless Valley area of Sheffield.

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It operates by providing crime prevention advice, ‘smart water’ treatment to make household valuables permanently traceable as well as crime prevention advice and high visibility police patrols.

The tactics have also been demonstrated to reduce offences without displacing problems to nearby communities, a trait believed to be caused by a liking for most house-breakers to operate in the area close to their own homes.

Details of the performance were provided to South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, at his Public Accountability Board meeting, where he holds Chief Constable Stephen Watson and his force to account.

Rotherham’s district commander, Chief Supt Una Jennings, told the meeting: “If you want to have an impact on burglary, you focus on people burgling in that area which is exactly what officers did.

“One of the nice things we are doing is to launch Operation Shield, it will focus on the areas with the highest density of burglaries.

“That will mean us coming into contact with more than 800 households, offering security marking and high visibility policing.”

She also told Dr Billings that convicted burglars released from custody were “robustly managed” to prevent them slipping back into a criminal lifestyle.

“We know some burglars continue to offend so are getting a good grip on them when they come back into communities,” she said.