The number of burglars convicted for their crimes in Shropshire fell last year – despite an eight per cent rise in break-ins, new figures have revealed.
A total of 186 burglars were convicted in 2011/12, a slight drop from the 190 sentenced during the previous year, but the number of thefts went up by almost 100, from 1,211 in 2010/11 to 1,308 this year.
Gareth Morgan, assistant chief constable for West Mercia, admitted today that ‘crime levels are too high and detection rates are too low’ in the county.
But he added the statistics did not tell the whole story.
“Arrests in one year often don’t come up as a conviction until next year. But my position is crime levels are too high and detection rates are too low,” he said.
“Our focus is that crime needs to come down and detection rates need to go up - that’s the reality.”
Mr Morgan added that hundreds of burglary suspects had been arrested in the county this year as the force launched a major new initiative called Operation Citadel to tackle the problem.
Since April, 692 burglaries have been recorded by police in the county – 36 per cent higher than their maximum target for this point in the year.
The number is 186 more than the West Mercia Police target of a maximum of 506.
Over the same period 257 people have been arrested for burglary, 165 of these in the past three months.
Mr Morgan said: “The rate of burglaries is slowing. We are making an impact in terms of numbers. We are not responsible for the whole criminal justice system – you can only convict burglars if you arrest them.”
He added that it was important for the public to take steps to make sure they lower the risk of becoming victims of burglary.
He said simple steps like locking doors and windows could make a big difference.
By Chris Burn