Thieves target upmarket homes

Housebreaking is on the rise in the Southside. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Housebreaking is on the rise in the Southside. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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HOUSEBREAKERS are targeting some of the Capital’s most affluent homes, with a spike in burglaries reported in well-heeled districts like the Grange.

But police chiefs deny the disbandment of a dedicated burglary unit during April’s move to a unified force has sparked the upsurge, instead blaming the “seasonal nature of theft”.

Police confirmed housebreaking rates in Newington, the Grange and other areas of south Edinburgh were on the rise. It comes just weeks after the News reported how four out of five housebreakings in Edinburgh were going unsolved, with only 21 per cent of 828 burglaries between April and August leading to an arrest.

Councillor Cameron Rose, a former police inspector who represents Southside and Newington, said he had met with the community police officer and urged action to protect constituents’ property. “The police are treating it quite seriously,” he said. “I have actually met with the local inspector recently and put pressure on him to ensure he knew this was a priority for us.

He added: “The recently introduced priorities of the new Police Scotland focused on – among other things – violence against the person, and consequently the class of crime which is quaintly called ‘acquisitive crime’ – housebreaking, theft etc – fell to a lower priority. It is right that personal violence is a priority, but we still need an effective response to theft.”

A police spokesman said: “Where property crime is identified, officers will pursue those responsible. We currently have a citywide operation concentrating on theft and using the skills of detectives and community staff to maximise enforcement opportunities and anticipate the recent drop we have seen in solvency, which is often due to the seasonal nature of theft, will be reversed.”

david.mccann@edinburghnews.com