New Home Office data has revealed that police didn’t solve a single burglary case in just under half of all neighbourhoods in Britain over the past three years.
In line with the long-term trend of falling crime overall, burglary cases in England and Wales have been in steady decline for the past two decades. Just 449,000 people reported being a victim of home theft in 2022, down from 922,000 in 2012, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The proportion of burglars being held to account, however, is also going down. Data analysis of 30,100 neighbourhoods showed detectives came up short every time in 48.2 percent of areas in the three years to March.
This flies in the face of the commitment made last year by police chiefs to attend every report of a break-in.
While these statistics won’t trouble those in the country’s safest communities, those in Britain’s burglary hotspots are sure to be worried.
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In 2022, police recorded more burglaries in Birmingham than any other local authority in England and Wales, at 9,513. This is over ten times more than the 898 average for all areas.
On Wednesday, West Midlands Police – which looks after Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and the Black Country – announced that five people were due to appear in court following a “complex investigation” into an “organised crime” gang that had been burgling expensive cars in the region for the past year.
The powerhouse of the Midlands was followed by Leeds (5,919), Manchester (5,895) and Sheffield (4,751).
On the sunnier side of the scale, the Isle of Anglesey (107), Rutland (117) and Adur (137) were found to be the least impacted areas.
Rick Muir, director at The Police Foundation said: “It is fair to say that in some parts of the country, there are some crime types – in this case, burglary – that have become decriminalised because there is absolutely no consequence to committing the crime.
“If you have detection rates so low, it means that there is not an effective deterrent to committing these crimes. That is a big problem.”
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said: “It’s vitally important when people are put through something like a burglary that they get the appropriate response from the police.
“That is why we have met our target to put more than 20,000 more police officers on the streets to give forces the numbers they need to do more in this space. Some forces are leading the way. It’s vitally important the public feel they are getting the appropriate response.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Burglary, Deputy Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith, said: “The number of burglaries is at an all-time low, and we will continue to prioritise preventing these offences, targeting repeat offenders and organised crime groups and solving as many burglaries as we can.
“As part of these efforts, I am pleased to say that all forces are now able to fulfil the commitment made last year by police chiefs to attend all residential burglaries.