Police struggle to solve thefts from outbuildings

Housebreaking detections have risen. Picture: IAN GEORGESON
Housebreaking detections have risen. Picture: IAN GEORGESON
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THE number of housebreakers 
being brought to justice by Capital police officers has nearly doubled in the last year – but detectives are struggling to solve thefts from outbuildings.

Latest crime figures show break-ins across the city have fallen considerably and clear-up rates have leapt from a modest 20 per cent to almost four out of ten burglaries being solved.

In the six months to September, Edinburgh experienced a wave of thefts from sheds and garages – around 800 – but crooks enjoy high odds of getting with it as just one in 20 are being collared.

The boost in home burglary detections comes after Police Scotland reintroduced specialist housebreaking squads, when an earlier decision to scrap them led to a sharp spike in thefts.

Edinburgh’s divisional commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Williams said the latest figures demonstrated the importance of securing outbuildings.

He said: “As we have reduced the number of domestic housebreakings we have seen an increase in thefts from sheds and garages.

“Often, thieves are targeting motorbikes and pedal cycles that are stored outdoors.”

Yesterday’s report highlights a trend in Scotland’s 2013-14 crime statistics – published last week – which showed Edinburgh lags behind other Scottish cities when it comes to crime solving.

We previously revealed that Edinburgh’s success rate in solving crimes was the worst among Scotland’s major cities – and second bottom out of 32 authority areas.

The latest police statistics reinforce this downward trend with crime-fighting in the Capital failing to match the one-in-two solvency rate for offences taking place in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee – producing convictions just 36 per cent of the time.

Ch Supt Williams said: “Preventing crime in the first place is our number one priority and we have driven down the overall number of crimes including violent offences, housebreaking, antisocial behaviour and disorder. We take all reports of crime seriously and have focused our resources on the issues that communities say matter most.”

Councillor Mike Bridgman, convener of the city’s police and fire scrutiny board, said: “The statistics are looking better than the other week. But we need to wait until next year until we have year-on-year figures to compare.

“We have got to remember how big Edinburgh is – we have got a lot to deal with as the capital city. It is still one of the safest places to live.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com