Crime tsar vows to act over high rate of burglaries

Headteacher Jonny Mitchell with pupils at Thornhill Community Academy, Thornhill, Dewsbury.
Headteacher Jonny Mitchell with pupils at Thornhill Community Academy, Thornhill, Dewsbury.
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West Yorkshire still has the highest burglary rate outside London, new crime figures show as separate research reveals Leeds and Bradford are hotspots for insurance claims after raids on homes.

The region’s police force recorded 13 burglaries per 1,000 people living in the area last year – compared with a national average of nine per 1,000, data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

Homeowners in the LS13 areas of Bramley, Gamble Hill, Moorside, Rodley and Swinnow are more likely than any other UK residents to make a burglary claim on their policy, a separate study by MoneySupermarket found.

Four other parts of the city also featured in a list of the country’s top 20 worst-hit areas compiled by the price comparison website.

Horsforth (LS18) was at number seven while Calverley, Farsley, Pudsey and Stanningley (LS28) were in 10th position.

Aberford, Ferry Fryston, Garforth, Hillam, Kippax, Ledsham, Micklefield, Monk Fryston and Sherburn-in-Elmet (LS25) ranked 15th and Armley, Farnley, New Farnley and Wortley (LS12) were at number 19.

Bradford also dominated the top 20, with Low Moor, Oakenshaw and Wyke (BD12) at number two and Apperley Bridge, Eccleshill, Greengates, Idle and Thackley (BD10) at number 13.

Baildon and Shipley (BD17) were close behind at number 14 followed by Saltaire, Windhill and Wrose (BD18) and Buttershaw and Wibsey (BD6) at 17 and 20.

And Hull also featured, with Dunswell and Orchard Park (HU6) coming in at number 12.

Across Yorkshire, the ONS figures reveal a burglary rate of 11 per 1,000 residents – the highest rate outside London, although the number of recorded raids has fallen by 13 per cent since the previous year to 59,743.

In South Yorkshire and Humberside, the rate was 12 and 10 per 1,000 respectively, while North Yorkshire had among the lowest in England at six per 1,000.

Yorkshire’s overall crime rate was again the highest outside London, although the total number of crimes recorded has fallen by nine per cent to 369,207.

All forces recorded fewer crimes than the previous year overall, including an 18 per cent drop in burglaries in West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson welcomed the reductions but said more work must be done.

“We continue to suffer with a high burglary rate and though these figures show a clear drop, we’re still high compared to other forces,” he said.

“I will be including burglary as a priority in the Police and Crime Plan 2013/14 to make sure people in West Yorkshire are safer.”

Nationally, the ONS figures show a “significant decrease” in the overall level of crime, which Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne hailed as proof police reform is working.

But an additional study found the drop in offences recorded by police may have been overstated.

The overall number of recorded crimes fell by eight per cent to 8.9m in the year to the end of September, the ONS statistics show – the lowest level since the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) began in 1981.

But a review of the differences between the CSEW and police-recorded crimes showed while both report a fall in offences, police records appear to “overstate the true rate” crime has fallen.

Police-recorded crime has fallen by 41 per cent since 2002/03, compared with a 26 per cent fall in offences in the CSEW, which gauges experiences of householders in England and Wales.

And in the past five years the number of recorded crimes fell by 960,000, while the CSEW showed only 560,000 fewer offences – suggesting 400,000 crimes were not recorded.

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