Revealed: Figures show housebreaking hotspots in Edinburgh

HOUSEBREAKING insurance claims across the Capital remain the highest in Scotland, new figures out today have revealed.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 8:23 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 8:30 am
Edinburgh remains Scotland's burglary claims capital. GV of one of the top 20 hotspots - Granton

The top five hotspots and 11 of the worst 20 areas are all in the Lothians, according to analysis from price comparison website MoneySuperMarket.

Community leaders reacted with concern over the figures, but police insisted that housebreaking rates were dropping across the city.

The average cost per claim across Edinburgh postcodes was £1410 last year, the data reveals.

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Liberton was one of the most targeted areas. Picture; Greg Mcvean

For the second consecutive year, Granton takes the top spot nationally, despite its claim rate dropping from 40.4 per 1000 quotes for home insurance in last year’s tracker, to 34.2 per 1000 this year.

Conservative councillor for Forth, Allan Jackson, said housebreakers had targeted Trinity over the past year.

A typical raid would see criminals driving off in expensive cars after breaking into homes and stealing the keys.

“There have been a lot of break-ins and we were very concerned for a while as we had a spate of them in the last year,” said Cllr Jackson.

Scott Hill has had four mountainbikes stolen from his garden shed. The cost totals £6,000.

But the situation had improved after police moved specialist housebreaking officers back to Edinburgh, he added.

“Police have been to our public meetings for several weeks and given basic advice,” said Cllr Jackson, calling for temporary CCTV to help patrol hotspots.

“The number of break-ins has dropped considerably as police have caught those responsible and, presumably, they’re doing time which has helped.

“Fortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of violence as perpetrators want to avoid an altercation. It’s not just the financial loss but also how it’s affected people.”

Portobello was third on the list, up one place. Picture; Greg Mcvean

Fellow Granton councillor Cammy Day (Lab) pledged to raise the issue of break-ins with police to ensure families feel “safe and comfortable”.

He said: “It’s horrendous to have your home broken into and possessions taken and I’d encourage people to keep their homes safe and take up the advice of police to keep themselves, their neighbours and communities safe.”

MoneySuperMarket analysed 1.8 million home insurance quotes from its website over the last two years from January 2015 to December 2016.

“There’s no room for complacency but the police appear to be much more in control of this situation than they certainly were previously,” said Cllr Nigel Bagshaw, Green member for Inverleith which includes part of the EH4 postcode with the second highest rate of claims.

Liberton was one of the most targeted areas. Picture; Greg Mcvean

Duddingston councillor Alex Lunn (SNP), whose ward includes the EH15 postcode third on the list, said austerity had a role to play in creating areas of high deprivation.

“The trend is downward in terms of these crimes but these statistics show there’s still work to do,” said Cllr Lunn.

“This is an area we take very seriously and I will continue to work with the police and council’s community safety team to ensure these figures come down in the future.”

Green member for Southside/Newington, fourth in the list, Councillor Steve Burgess, said it was a “constant battle” to reduce burglaries.

“Because there are concentrated pockets of wealth in the city, it’s perhaps not surprising that some areas top the 
house-breaking league table,” he said.

“The police are certainly aware that housebreaking is one of residents’ main concerns and we’re told they’ve been putting extra resources into tackling it.

Scott Hill has had four mountainbikes stolen from his garden shed. The cost totals £6,000.

“Whilst it seems there have been successes in reducing burglary in some areas, sadly overall it’s a constant battle.

“It’s partly about getting residents to secure their property. For example, using timer-switches for lights to dissuade intruders.”

Morningside councillor Mark McInnes (Con) reacted with “concern” at the EH10 postcode leaping from 17th to fifth on the national list of highest break-in claims.

“This news is very concerning if not surprising to local residents.

“We have been aware of a spike for the last year after being pretty consistent for five years,” said Cllr McInnes.

“I’m very disappointed that local householders have to bear the brunt of this by seeing their insurance premiums go up.”

Cllr McInnes said bike thefts from tenements were likely to be responsible for some of the claims.

“I would ask that the police continue to work in the local area both to catch the perpetrators but also to advise local residents on how best to keep their home secure,” he added.

“I also hope that whenever perpetrators are found guilty that they are appropriately sentenced. Many of these burglaries are committed by the same repeat offenders.”

Councillor Joan Griffiths, community safety leader at the city council, said: “We will continue to work closely with Police Scotland on all crime issues across the city to ensure that Edinburgh remains a safe place for its residents.”

Latest police figures show more than three in four break-ins are going unsolved.

“Tackling housebreaking is one of our top priorities here in Edinburgh and we have dedicated resources who are robustly investigating these crimes and targeting offenders to minimise housebreakings and the subsequent theft of property,” said Edinburgh commander Chief Superintendent MacDonald.

“I recognise the adverse impact housebreaking can have on our communities, however, officers within Edinburgh continue to actively address this issue and over the past year have seen an overall 16 per cent reduction across the city and we continue to focus to improve this.

“We are committed to reducing the number of those in our communities who are impacted by this horrendous crime and we are relentless in our pursuit of acquisitive crime offenders.

“The public have a crucial role to play in helping us prevent break-ins by taking appropriate security measures around their homes, outbuildings and business premises and by reporting any suspicious activity they witness around the properties of their families, friends and neighbours.”

Claim top spots in Edinburgh

1- EH5 Granton

2- EH4 Dean Village

3- EH15 Portobello and Duddingston

4- EH9 City centre, Machmont and Grange, Blackford, Minto Street, Causewayside

5- EH10 Bruntsfield, Morningside and Fairmilehead

6- EH12 Haymarket, Murrayfield, Costorphine

7- EH14 Balerno, Currie, Juniper Green

8- EH16 Liberton, Cameron Toll, Craigmiller and Niddrie

9. EH37 Whitburn, Bathgate, Fauldhouse, Stoneyburn

10- EH29 Kirkliston

11- EH17 Gilmerton, Moredum, Mortonhall

‘Being robbed is like having one of your internal organs ripped out’

CYCLIST Scott Hill was targeted by burglars when they broke into his shed and stole four bikes worth £6000 in October.

“It feels properly horrible, like one of your internal organs has been ripped out,” said Scott, of Bilston.

Scott, 29, who works at Ikea in Straiton, had been planning a dream holiday cycling to the north of Scotland when the thieves struck.

Despite locking them securely in his shed, he believes the thieves “prised” open the lock with a screw driver, before stealing the four bikes which were chained to each other. He believes the bikes were targeted because they were “fairly rare” and handle off-road terrain “extremely well”.

“The thieves would have had to go through my neighbours’ garden to get to mine,” said Scott, who estimates spending £500 on beefed-up security including locks and alarms since the raid.

“I always ensure I lock the bikes up securely at night. They are one of the things I live for.

“They were all chained together when they were stolen. It would have taken two or three people to lift them out of the shed.

“I don’t drive, they are what I use to get around.”

Scott added: “I would advise mountain bike owners to make sure their bikes are locked up securely. Mine always are, and the thieves still managed to get them.

“It’s just a proper invasion of privacy. I’ve got six-foot fences both sides and don’t go out advertising that I’ve got these bikes.

“It was local knowledge and a targeted attack which makes you wonder who’s been watching when you go to bed and when you go to work.”

Happily, after the Evening News reported his story, Scott recovered three of the bikes when they were spotted by a dog walker dumped on a patch of Penicuik wasteland.

One kind-hearted Evening News reader

even offered to lend

Scott a £500 bike while he tried to replace those taken.

“It really does show the worst and best of human nature,” said Scott.

Portobello was third on the list, up one place. Picture; Greg Mcvean