As the weather changes so can the profile of crime in the area. Given the darker nights, we often experience an increase in housebreaking and that has been something we have prioritised over the winter.
This often involves a lot of work to understand any developing patterns which we then address by carrying out additional patrols, issuing localised crime prevention advice or seeking out the small number of recidivist offenders who carry out the crime.
For example, to restrict known offenders released from custody we will carry out daily home visits to ensure they are adhering to curfews imposed on them. This can be a repetitive task but we know it pays dividends by ensuring that those who commit most crime have less opportunity to do so. Allied with that, our Community Investigation Unit carry out detailed investigation into every single housebreaking to ensure that all investigative opportunities are taken to identify the culprit or recover stolen property. In the last fortnight alone they have charged three particular offenders with 20 housebreakings within the area and ensured that they were held in custody.
Our Smartwater property marking initiative is also something we’ve introduced. This involved a lot of hard work to visit 1100 homes in the Craigmillar ward area and distribute 700 packs for householders. Although just completed, there have been no housebreakings in the targeted area since its introduction in September, which is excellent news.
As a result of all this work we have managed to reduce housebreaking by 35 per cent since April, which in simple terms means that 72 fewer households and families have been affected by this invasive crime.
We can’t target the problem alone, though, and I’d encourage all householders to ensure they make it more difficult for the criminal. The best way to do this is to use an alarm, ensure your house is lit and looks occupied during darker nights, and lock away garden tools which can be used to prise open doors or windows.
By working together, I’m confident we can reduce opportunities for housebreakers and ensure everyone feels safe and secure in their home.
Further info can be found on our Twitter account @EdinEastPolice.
Chief Inspector Mark Rennie is area commander for East Edinburgh