POLICE have launched targeted patrols after a string of break-ins to garages and homes in the south of the Capital.
Half a dozen homes have been broken into in the Fairmilehead and Buckstone area in the last month, while there was a series of raids on sheds and outbuildings earlier in the summer.
At the weekend, residents reported three youths wearing hoodies trying to break into garages where a motorbike was stolen.
Fairmilehead Community Council chairman Dennis Williams said residents were concerned by the apparent spike in crime.
He himself had a bad experience last month when his wife, Lynda, disturbed an intruder who forced their way into their home.
“Since last year it’s got worse – if you are a resident, it’s worrying it’s happening during the day as well,” Mr Williams said.
“We had a bad experience and there’s been quite a few.
“I think everyone should be doing everything they can to rally around.
“People get desperate and I always think that when the dark nights come in is when it tends to kick off again.”
Thieves have also been targeting businesses, with the Buckstone Terrace takeaway Breadstix and hairdresser Headturners both being broken into at the weekend and having their tills removed.
Headturners owner Jaqui Guthrie said: “We were broken into before about six years ago and they smashed the whole front window in, so I thought it was quite safe with the shutters.
“It does worry you but there’s not much I can do other than sit there 24 hours a day. I have got bars on the windows so I kind of feel I have done as much as I can.”
Breadstix owner Stephen Graham said he had been taking precautions and made sure he did not leave his float on the premises overnight.
“Because there were lots of break-ins I took my float away, so they just broke in and tried to get in the till.
“They ended up smashing my window and broke my till.
“Buckstone is a nice area, I’ve lived here all my life, but the police have said there’s been a massive rise in break-ins.”
Inspector Liz Duthie said there were units dedicated to tackling housebreakings as part of Police Scotland’s current operations, Stoneham and Jacunda, and that the force was committed to “keeping people safe and offering crime prevention advice”.
She said: “Police Scotland is putting appropriate plans in place to prevent any more premises being targeted.
“Regular patrols are being carried out in Buckstone by local officers, and our Prevention, Intervention and Partnership department will be contacting local businesses to give them the best safety advice so that their properties are adequately secured outwith opening hours.”