Police concern at burglary rise

HOUSEHOLD burglary has increased in South Yorkshire over the last year - with police chiefs agreeing the offence is causing them "concern".

Earlier this financial year offences were up 3.2 per cent on the last 12 months - but crackdowns and extra resources to tackle the issue have seen the figure drop to 1.5 per cent now, representing around 80 more break-ins than in the same period the year before.

South Yorkshire Police referred to the issue in a report for the county's Police Authority about performance in tackling crime.

The report said although overall crime dropped by 9.4 per cent between April and December last year - 6,361 fewer crimes - the number of household burglaries reported had increased.

The report said the force's detection rate for serious acquisitive crime, which includes burglary, stood at 33 per cent - above the force's 24 per cent target - but the number of offences being committed was increasing.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt told the Police Authority there was "some concern" over the increase and he thought the offence would remain "a challenge for the foreseeable future".

Speaking after the meeting Supt Tim Innes, responsible for overseeing the police response to acquisitive crime, said there had been a "massive" investment of resources into tackling the crime.

"Acquisitive crime as a whole is down 11 per cent and burglary as a whole is down five per cent when you take figures for both dwelling and commercial burglaries into account," he said.

"Last year across 500,000 homes and 1.5 million people there was an increase of 80 offences - one burglary committed every three to four days. We take the increase seriously - people see it as an invasive crime.

"It is something we are focused on."

He said the force had halted the increase by putting officers into areas where offences are committed and by careful offender management - where people convicted of break-ins are closely monitored on their release from prison.

Officers liaise with drug workers and probation service staff to assess their behaviour and tell offenders they are being watched to deter them from striking again.

Work has also been done to tackle those who handle stolen goods in the hope of making it more difficult for burglars to dispose of their loot.

Supt Innes said he believes one of the reasons for the increase is a rise in the number of criminals breaking into homes to steal keys to cars parked outside and urged people to be on their guard.

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