Children carry out a third of burglaries in county

A generic photo of a burglar breaking into a house.
A generic photo of a burglar breaking into a house.
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More than a third of home burglaries in West Yorkshire are carried out by under-18s, one of the highest rates in the country, according to new figures.

Of the 21,796 burglaries between 2008 and 2013 in the county where an offender was caught, 7,933 were carried out by minors, a rate of 36.4 per cent.

Of the 23 police forces that responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by security firm ADT and the charity Victim Support, only Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester and London had a higher rate.

In South Yorkshire 25 per cent of home burglaries were carried out by under-18s, and in North Yorkshire the rate was 18.5 per cent. Humberside Police did not respond to the request for information.

John Hayward Cripps, of Victim Support, said: “From supporting thousands of burglary victims every year, we know that what they want most is for no one else to suffer like they have.

“It’s sad that the young people committing these crimes are detrimentally affecting their peers the most. People aged 10-16 years old are much more likely to be the victim of a crime than at any other time in their life.”

The most recent crime statistics showed that Yorkshire had the highest rate of domestic burglaries for any region outside London in the year to September 2014.

During this period, West Yorkshire saw 11.3 burglaries per 1,000 households and South Yorkshire 13.1. There were 10.3 per 1,000 households in the Humberside Police area and 4.6 in North Yorkshire.

This is despite a substantial reduction in the number of household burglaries compared with the previous year, most notably in West and South Yorkshire, contributing to a region-wide fall of 12 per cent.

In 2011, a teen burglar wrote a letter to his victims in Leeds telling them it was their own fault they were targeted.

The 16-year-old showed no remorse and mocked the family who lost possessions during one of his raids in Leeds – telling them they were “dumb” for not drawing their curtains and for leaving a kitchen window open.

The letter was never sent to the intended recipient because of its contents and the burglar’s lack of remorse.

Over the six years covered by ADT’s information, the offenders were caught in 21,796 of the 108,024 burglaries in West Yorkshire.

In South Yorkshire the rate was 8,989 out of 46,847 and in North Yorkshire the burglar was caught in 2,424 of the 10,961 cases.

Out of a total of 291,567 offenders identified in domestic burglaries between 2008 and 2013, 95,872 were found to be under 18.

Nottinghamshire, Greater Manchester and London had the highest proportion of burglaries committed by juvenile offenders, with police forces reporting under-18s involved in 43 per cent, 41 per cent and 37 per cent of break-ins respectively.

In Nottinghamshire offenders under the age of 18 were responsible for 2,232 out of a total of 5,116 burglaries. Only four police forces recorded the proportion of burglaries committed by minors as less than 15 per cent of the total offenders

The Take No More campaign launched by ADT and Victim Support aims to highlight the impact burglary has on victims. Gail Hunter of ADT said: “We have found that some of the worst affected victims of burglary are children, yet these statistics have shown that the perpetrators of the crimes are children themselves.”

Chris Joyce, Force Crime Prevention Officer for West Yorkshire Police, said: “Last year West Yorkshire Police recorded its lowest ever figures for incidents of domestic burglary.

“At the end of February this year we had further reduced offences of burglary dwelling and had 382 fewer offences than the same period last year. This demonstrates the priority we give to tackling burglary and ensuring our communities are safer and feel safer.”