Edinburgh crime: 8 out of 10 housebreakings in Edinburgh are going unsolved, latest figures show

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Edinburgh has one of worst clear-up rates for housebreaking in Scotland

Eight out of ten housebreakings in Edinburgh are going unsolved, according to latest crime statistics.

The recorded crime and clear-up figures for 2022-23 show a total of 1,449 housebreakings in the Capital, but 80.3 per cent of them were not cleared up. It’s one of the lowest clear-up rates in Scotland. The only areas with more unsolved housebreakings were Clackmannanshire (85.1 per cent), Scottish Borders (83.1 per cent), Midlothian (82.1 per cent), East Renfrewshire (80.6 per cent) and Falkirk (80.5 per cent).

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A crime or offence is regarded as “cleared up” where there is enough evidence under Scots law to justify consideration of criminal proceedings. Lothian Labour MSP Sarah Boyack claimed that “SNP mismanagement” had left policing in Edinburgh at breaking point. She said the figures exposed the pressure police in the Capital were under and warned against cuts in the area.

Housebreakings in Edinburgh have one of the worst clear-up rates in Scotland.  Picture: John Devlin.Housebreakings in Edinburgh have one of the worst clear-up rates in Scotland.  Picture: John Devlin.
Housebreakings in Edinburgh have one of the worst clear-up rates in Scotland. Picture: John Devlin.

West Lothian was not far behind Edinburgh with 79.5 per cent of housebreakings unsolved, while East Lothian was not as bad with 66.7 per cent not cleared up. Glasgow had fewer housebreakings than the Capital – 1,223, with 79.7 per cent not cleared up.

Ms Boyack said: “The revelation that eight out of ten housebreakings in Edinburgh remain unsolved is nothing short of a disgrace. These shocking figures reveal the pressure police in Edinburgh are under, with years of SNP mismanagement pushing services to breaking point. Housebreaking can cause its victims both financial loss and serious distress, and it will add insult to injury that so many perpetrators get off scot-free. It is high time for our government to prioritise public safety, allocate adequate funding, and ensure that police have the resources they need to tackle crime and keep our city safe. The residents of Edinburgh deserve better.”

Police Scotland’s Superintendent Mark Rennie pointed out that housebreaking also covered garages, sheds and commercial properties, as well as people’s homes. He said: “As reported crime returns to levels closer to that which was experienced prior to the pandemic, it is clearly a challenge to maintain detection rates while at the same time responding to growing and increasingly complex individual and community needs, especially considering the resourcing challenges resulting from the tightening financial environment.

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“Our policing response is based on an assessment of threat, risk and harm to ensure the most vulnerable get the help they need and deserve and Police Scotland has driven high levels of operational competence for all our communities. We understand the impact that housebreaking has on victims. Housebreaking in Scotland remains significantly lower than the five-year average and compared to pre-pandemic levels.”

The Scottish Government said the latest statistics showed a fall of nearly two-thirds in recorded housebreaking in Edinburgh over the past ten years, down 65 per cent from 4,101 in 2013-14 to 1,449 in 2022-23, slightly more than the national fall of 61 er cent. Across Scotland there were 32 per cenr fewer housebreakings in 2022-23 than in 2019-20.

A government spokesperson said: “Crimes such as housebreakings can have a profound impact on victims. In recognition our focus is on prevention, deterrence and enforcement around a range of crimes including housebreaking and theft and we are investing £1.45 billion in policing in 2023/24 to support their work protecting our communities.

“Recorded crime overall is at one of the lowest levels seen since 1974. The latest statistics show housebreaking remains at a much lower level across Scotland than pre-pandemic, with a near two-thirds reduction within Edinburgh in the past ten years.”