BBC News

Police make '14 arrests for every 100 burglaries'

By Daniel Wainwright
BBC News

image copyrightThinkstock
image captionPolice make just 14 arrests for every 100 burglaries

Police forces in England make 14 arrests for every 100 burglaries, analysis by BBC News has found.

The number of burglaries has fallen in a year, but so has the proportion of arrests to recorded crimes.

Office for National Statistics figures on recorded crime show there were 392,341 burglaries in 2014-15, while Home Office data shows 54,466 arrests were made for burglary.

Victim Support said people needed to know burglary was taken seriously.

West Midlands Police (WMP) had the lowest ratio of arrests to burglaries, with just seven for every 100 crimes.

The figures do not take into account people arrested for more than one burglary at the same time, nor those arrested for offences committed in previous years.

Across England the number of recorded burglaries fell from 423,912 in 2013-14 to 392,341 in 2014-15, while arrests dropped from 66,571 to 54,466. It means the rate of arrests has fallen from 16 for every 100 burglaries to 14.

WMP's lead for burglary, Ch Insp Anthony Tagg said: "We continue to see year-on year-reductions in the number of burglaries, a trend that continued in 2015 when there were 474 fewer house break-ins across the West Midlands compared to 2014 - that's a fall of 4%."

He said almost half of the 22,400 burglaries in the region related to non domestic buildings such as sheds, garages and outhouses.

"These often occur in the middle of the night when there are no witnesses or CCTV to assist the investigation so securing arrests and convictions is even more challenging," he said.

Author and former police officer Mike Pannett, who spent 20 years with the Metropolitan and North Yorkshire forces, said the figures would not show "prolific" offenders arrested for multiple burglaries.

The retired police sergeant, who served on the Met's Divisional Crime Squad, said: "I remember a case in Battersea in the 1990s when one arrest for a car theft led us to a further 156. I also arrested one team responsible for 96 burglaries.

"This is where good intelligence and police analysis comes into play. If you have a spike in a particular type of crime, you can find that one or two individuals are responsible for a huge crime wave."

'We've had to install cameras'

Jenny Dunphy, from Timperley, Greater Manchester arrived home on 29 November at 17:50 GMT with her two children and found the front door was barricaded and the patio doors had been smashed.

"I saw things were missing, handbags were all over the floor and there was general chaos. My little boy thought he heard someone upstairs, so I ran out and locked the kids in the car, locked the front door and called the police."

An officer arrived within three minutes and waited for back up before searching the house. They found nobody inside but the intruders had "ransacked upstairs".

Ms Dunphy made a list of what was missing, including two PlayStations, two laptops, about 50 games, two bracelets, and two watches.

She said: "The impact on the family was felt immediately. My eldest child, being very aware of the situation, struggled to sleep.

"He changed his whole Christmas list to police everything... police Lego, police trucks, a jail. He would regularly make posters and asked his classmates to help him find the bad guys.

"Personally it is very unnerving knowing someone has been through your house and rummaged through your things. It took weeks until I had a full night's sleep, and we've had to install cameras, as it's common for them to come back."

Two months later, Ms Dunphy says when she arrives home she feels nervous opening the door and gets suspicious of anyone who walks past the house and looks in.

Police returned two weeks after the incident but have not found the culprits.

"We've not heard any updates since," Ms Dunphy added.

The biggest force in the country, the Metropolitan Police, made 7,519 arrests for burglary but recorded 73,640 crimes, meaning just over 10 arrests for every 100 offences.

Cleveland had the highest proportion, with 32 arrests for every 100 burglaries. However, this was down from 46 arrests per 100 burglaries in 2013-14.

Det Ch Insp Chris Downes, from Cleveland Police, said the force had been "relentlessly pursuing" burglary suspects, as well as working with convicted burglars to prevent reoffending.

BBC News has produced an interactive map showing burglary arrest figures for each police force area in England.

image copyrightCartoDB
image captionThe redder the area, the lower the number of arrests per recorded burglary

Mark Castle, chief executive of independent charity Victim Support, said: "Burglary not only robs victims of their physical possessions, it can rob people of their sense of security at home as well, a place where everyone should feel most safe. This crime can also leave many people feeling vulnerable, frightened and distressed.

"It is important that all victims know that reporting an incident of burglary will be taken seriously by the police and that the offence will be thoroughly investigated."

According to the Ministry of Justice, there were 107,826 people sentenced at court for "theft offences" in England and Wales in the 12 months ending June 2015. This compares with 120,875 for the same period the year before.

Arrest rates for other crimes

Police in England made about four arrests for every 10 violent offences in 2014-15. Sexual offences saw a similar proportion of arrests, about 3.8 for every 10 offences recorded, according to the Home Office and Office for National Statistics data.

In 2014-15, the number of arrests made by police forces in England and Wales was down about 75,000 on the year before.

However, arrests for violence and sexual offences increased. There were 4,000 more arrests in England and Wales for violence in 2014-15 than the year before and 2,600 more for sexual offences.

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