THE number of reported housebreakings in the Capital has dropped by a fifth in two years, it emerged today.
Almost five homes a day were broken into last year but the total of 1700 crimes is a dramatic improvement on the 2100 recorded two years earlier.
Niddrie was the worst-hit Edinburgh district, with 50 break-ins throughout 2011; Hillside, off London Road, was second with 49; and affluent Blackford was third, with 46 homes burgled.
Police chiefs say a database of known burglars has helped snare career criminals and elevated the force solvency rate to 56 per cent – 15 per cent higher than the last two years. Preventative policing and dedicated housebreaking teams are also said to have played significant roles in deterring burglars.
Councillor Iain Whyte, convenor of Lothian Joint Police Board, welcomed the fall in burglary rates. “I’m delighted the figures are showing such a positive decline in housebreaking,” he said. “The board was concerned around a year-and-a-half ago about some of the figures for the Edinburgh area which had some hotspots for burglary. But the police have taken action against mostly prolific offenders to reduce the numbers dramatically.”
DCI Keith Hardie said: “We target prolific offenders and have built up a massive database around those who commit these type of crimes – some of whom have a unique modus operandi which gives us a clue as to who might be responsible.”
“We have dedicated teams in each of the operational command areas who investigate nothing other than housebreakings so these guys build up an extensive knowledge of those who are active in the area. We look at the crime types and method used and consider those who have committed similar type crimes in the past.
“That, in itself, is proving very successful because of the reduction in reported crime and we are increasing our solvency, which is 56 per cent from April to March. But we are not being complacent and are still working to get the solvency higher and reduce the crime further and further.”
Councillor Maureen Childs, whose ward includes Niddrie – the most burgled beat in the city – said it was “disappointing” residents had been broken into 50 times in one year.
“We often get a spate of burglaries with one or two burglars targeting the same area at the same time. It could be the same bunch of people targeting a particular neighbourhood or community. I suspect these people can knock off a few houses in a number of weeks.”
“There has been a spate of people trying doors and then walking in and stealing things but police officers have been providing advice on how to prevent this and put information in a newsletter.”