HOUSEBREAKING in the Capital has plunged by a fifth in the last year, new figures have revealed.
Police bosses have praised the public for boosting home security after the number of criminals successfully gaining access to properties dropped.
They said the trend had also been driven by the success of Operation RAC, a specialist crackdown which was relaunched last year and saw dedicated teams of officers pursue offenders.
According to the latest data, the total number of housebreakings affecting all property types – including homes, sheds, garages, offices and shops – fell from 4930 in 2014-15 to 3924 over the most recent 12-month period.
Welcoming the reduction, Superintendent Alan Porte said: “Our strategy is to identify those responsible for housebreakings and to try to make it as difficult as we can for them to commit crime.
“Our target for me isn’t just about catching people, it’s about reducing the number of housebreakings, to make people who live in Edinburgh feel safer in their home.”
Senior officers said the percentage of criminals successfully entering targeted properties dropped from 60.2 per cent to 56.4 per cent, adding that this was a clear sign residents had been taking steps to maximise home security.
Keeping curtains closed and not leaving house keys in locks were just two measures highlighted during a series of crime prevention meetings held across the Capital.
Police leaders also said catching more than half the members of one organised crime group behind many housebreakings had been a major factor in the improving figures.
Stressing that they would continue to take a tough approach, officers said residents should ensure doors and windows are secured at all times.
Supt Porte added: “In the past year the total number of housebreakings has reduced by a fifth, and break-ins to homes is down four per cent. Our strategy has been successful, and our work will continue.
“We proactively police those individuals we believe to be responsible, and make every effort to detect any offences which do occur.
“We’ve been able to significantly reduce the number of housebreakings that are happening overnight, by making checks to ensure that bail conditions like curfews are being complied with.”
City chiefs also welcomed the fall.
Councillor Cammy Day, community safety leader, said: “I think it’s fantastic news and I hope that crime continues to decline. It’s through partnerships such as Operation RAC and Stronger North that people are coming together and local officers are able to have an impact.
“It’s also about people taking preventative action, with programmes such as the SmartWater initiative stopping crimes from happening in the first place.”