Monday, 8 August 2011

Police solve 1 in 10 burglaries

ABOUT one in ten burglaries and one in 20 thefts from vehicles were solved in Solihull last year, figures obtained by The Silhillian show.

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Some 13.8 per cent of home burglaries were solved in the Solihull force area in 2010/11 compared to 24 per cent the year before.

Just 3.6 per cent of thefts from cars were detected. The figures cover the year from April 1 2010 to March 31 2011.

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show detection rates of:

• 25.2 per cent of all recorded crime.
• 41.9 per cent of most serious violence cases.
• 10.3 per cent of serious thefts.
• 27.2 per cent of robberies.
• Five per cent of vehicle crime.

The percentage of rapes solved was 26.7 per cent compared to 18.8 per cent two years before.

The force area covers all of Solihull borough including Kingshurst and Chelmsley Wood.

Click here for the full figures.

DI Neil Thomas, of Solihull police, said a new organisational structure put in place on April 1 had improved detection rates.

All incidents are now sent to an investigation team rather than by neighbourhod teams.

He said: "I think we can always improve, I know we are improving. For me, the ideal is a 100 per cent detection rate.

"You will see a marked improvement in the detection rate."

He said the force has to be "realistic" in whether to pursue a crime. "We have to make a professional judgement to say 'under the circumstances we can't do anything with this offence'. It is not something we do lightly."

Burglary is often hard to detect because criminals are aware of how to avoid being traced forensically, he said.

Few traces are often left in vehicles and witnesses are hard to come by given the fast nature of the crime, he said.

DI Thomas said: "We don't seem to be able to locate where this stuff is going to. It is targeting the handlers [that is important]."

Broken windows are repaired before police can inspect the vehicle, he said, damaging officers' ability to investigate.

In its official response to The Silhillian's FOI request, West Midlands Police said some offences will take place in one year but be detected in subsequent years.

It added: “Comparing numbers of crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime.

“In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors.

“Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.”

This is despite a recent police press release directly comparing robbery statistics from one year to the next.

The release said “officers report a 14.2 per cent reduction in robbery offences compared to the same period last year”.

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