Housebreaking reports soar in Edinburgh this year

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HOUSEBREAKINGS across the Capital are up nearly a quarter on last year, latest official crime figures reveal.

Prolific offenders released from prison contributed to some of the 451 cases of break-ins in the three months between April and June, 83 more than the same period last year.

Significant increases were also recorded in violence, sex assaults, vehicle thefts, vandalism and fraud, driving up crime by 12.3 per cent – with 8,356 
offences reported.

City councillors called for the Scottish Government to free up more resources for local policing. And officers said they remained committed to tackling the public’s priorities.

“A rise in crime is never 
welcome but my officers remain focused on tackling the key priority areas identified to us by the people of Edinburgh,” said Chief Superintendent Kenny Macdonald. “That’s tackling violent crime, tackling domestic housebreaking, tackling vehicle crime in the form of antisocial behaviour on motorcycles and keeping the public of 
Edinburgh safe.”

There were 913 more crimes in the first three months of the financial year than in the same quarter last year.

Chief Super Macdonald said proactive police work on drugs and weapons was responsible for some of the upsurge.

For the first time, weapons offences are recorded separately, with 82 cases in three months, 29 of which involved knives.

Drug dealing charges were up more than half to 156 – driven by Operation Eagle which saw officers seize more than £850,000 worth of drugs including cannabis, crack cocaine and heroin.

Serious violent crime was up nearly a third, driven by city centre late-night drinking and street robberies of cash and mobile phones in Leith.

“We’ll continue to tackle the nighttime economy violence and antisocial behaviour every weekend to keep the vast majority of people safe,” said Chief Superintendent Macdonald.

“Serious violence remains comparatively rare and the numbers are actually very small,” he added. There were 95 serious assaults and 69 robberies in the three months.

Serious sex crimes were up 10.5 per cent to 264 cases with more than half relating to historical alleged offences from more than a year ago.

Theft of bikes was up nearly two-thirds to 598 cases prompting a warning from police to students returning to the city this autumn to keep their cycles secure. Fraud was up by 15 per cent to 322 cases driven by phishing cases where victims’ bank details are compromised.

Vandalism and fire-raising were also up while cases of domestic abuse were up more than a fifth to 961 cases. Theft of vehicles was up 18.3 per cent, fuelled by motorbike crime.

Mark Brown, Tory community justice spokesman on the council, said the increase in crime was disappointing and called for a review of the resources available to police in the Capital. He said: “Any rise in crime in whatever sector is concerning for residents.

“A lot of good work which the police have done recently, including targeting motorbike crime, has to be applauded.

“However, the beleaguered bobbies on the beat have been hamstrung by the SNP government and the decision to centralise the police force which has obviously had a detrimental effect on local policing.

“The Capital needs to have resources available to protect a growing city. The resources available to Edinburgh police needs to be reviewed.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com