London

Only 8% of home burglars caught in London

Met Police campaign to prevent home burglaries Image copyright Met Police
Image caption A new Met campaign aims to raise awareness of what people can do to prevent burglaries

Only 8% of domestic burglary reports to the Metropolitan Police last year resulted in action being taken against the perpetrator, figures have shown.

Of 44,683 reports received in London in 2015, only 3,575 resulted in a suspect being charged or cautioned. In 2014 the rate was similar, at 8.6%.

Parts of Sutton, Harrow and Wembley had the lowest percentages of reports looked into further by police.

The Met said it had done a lot of work to reduce burglary offences.

It said improved technology and dedicated teams should "in time result in an improvement in detection rates".

Independent charity Victim Support said it offered to help 148,376 victims of burglary in England and Wales in the last financial year.

'Proper crime'

It said victims are robbed of "their sense of security at home" and left feeling "vulnerable, frightened and distressed".

"It is important that all victims know that if they report an incident of burglary they will be taken seriously and the offence will be investigated thoroughly," it said.

Sebastian Stephenson, who put a homemade banner on his house in a bid to find a burglar, said: "The police do not prosecute. They do not investigate."

Image copyright Sebastian Stephenson
Image caption Sebastian Stephenson said police told him he was inciting public disorder

"Burglary is proper crime which affects the whole family" he said.

"My son reminds me to lock my car every night because of 'the thief'. He says he's worried he'll come inside our house and steal his Lego.

"In my experience, they [the police] do nothing. I would like to know how they even get to that 8%. Maybe the criminals are handing themselves in.

"People I've spoken to say they get given a Cris [Crime reporting information system] number for insurance and that's it."

Domestic burglary reports in London

8%

Number of domestic burglary reports to the police which resulted in a charge or caution

  • 45% Number of reports that are investigated by police officers after the initial call is made

  • -15% Decrease in number of people who are cautioned or charged between 2014 and 2015

Reuters

Mr Stephenson said he had to drive a van that was broken into to a fingerprint officer in Croydon because she refused to come to his property.

"I was devastated with the level of service," he said.

The 2015 figures also showed that, across the capital, the police only investigated further - by collecting evidence such as CCTV or fingerprints - in 45% of the domestic burglary calls they receive.

In parts of some areas such as Harrow, Wembley and Sutton the figure was only 26%, whereas in the Kingston and Greenwich more than 96% of cases were investigated.

The Met said if any further evidence comes in on cases officers would investigate.

Richard Garside, the director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said the discrepancies between postcodes could point to differing local policing priorities.

Nationally, there has been a significant drop in the number of burglaries being recorded since the mid-1990s, he added.

'Mickey Mouse campaign'

Last year, the head of the National Police Chiefs' Council said people should not expect to see an officer after a burglary as budget cuts meant forces had to change priorities.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Police will always try to investigate all crimes, however, the service as a whole is under intense workload pressures.

"Due to budget restraints, there are 22,000 fewer officers since 2010, and this means that forces have to make hard decisions about prioritising which crimes officers will respond to."

The findings come amid the launch of a £255,000 crime prevention campaign aimed at reducing the number of burglaries.

In the #BeAHero video posted on YouTube, a local resident is celebrated as a crime-fighting hero by police, the media and her neighbours for double-locking her front door.

The force said it hoped the film would help motivate Londoners to take small steps to avoid becoming a burglary victim because one in five burglaries happened when the home was left unsecured.

Assistant Commander Martin Hewitt said: "We need to get everyone involved and enable them to look after themselves and work with us to prevent crime."

But Mr Stephenson described the campaign as "Mickey Mouse" and added: "They're trying to save themselves some money and save their face."


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