POLICE have allayed residents’ fears that burglaries across Barnsley are ‘out of control’ following a summer spike - and the public have been told to expect a proactive response from patrolling officers in worst-hit spots.
According to a police report, there were 121 recorded residential burglaries in May last year, a number which was almost halved to 61 in May this year.
The 12-month trend shows that numbers hovered around 80 per month last summer, but those shot up to 144 in January, 130 in February and 139 in March this year.
Over the year to May, 1,411 residential burglaries took place, while a further 646 incidents of business-related burglary took the total figure to 2,057.
However, residents say there has been a spike since then over the summer, and that true figures are much higher than the police’s recorded number, citing continuing slow response times on the heavily-criticised 101 phone reporting system as a reason why victims often do not report a break-in.
Users were promised significant improvements to ease the call-taking process at Atlas Court, South Yorkshire Police’s Sheffield communications hub where all calls go, which launched in a revised format late last year.
Two crime meetings - which will be held in Grimethorpe on Tuesday and Cudworth on Wednesday - will be attended by police, and the latest burglary figures will be given to concerned residents whose calls led Cudworth-based officers to instate the ongoing issue as their priority six weeks ago.
Det Chf Insp Paul Murphy said: “A burglary is one of the worst possible crimes for victims and I fully understand residents’ concerns.
“The reality is that people fear being burgled because it’s such an intrusive crime, but I want to reassure Barnsley’s residents that we’re monitoring trends, delivering bespoke operations and patrolling worst-hit locations throughout the day and night.
“It’s our job to allay fears and deliver an appropriate plan to protect those people, who are often vulnerable, from being targeted.”
A total of 40 per cent of the summer’s burglaries have been attributed as ‘sneak-ins’, where opportunist thieves gain entry via an unlocked door or window, and fresh advice has been issued this week ahead of the darker nights setting in.
Cross-border work is also continuing throughout this month and November as a result of ‘two-in-one’ burglaries affecting areas including Darton and Mapplewell, where homes have been broken into with the sole purpose of targeting high-value cars.
DCI Murphy added: “The two-in-one response has been different to what we’re doing to tackle other burglaries as often cars have been found in West Yorkshire. Criminals travel and we’re aware of that, hence why there’s been and there will continue to be that cross-border work as the darker nights set in.
“It’s vitally important that residents continue to report these crimes to us and although there’s been teething problems with the 101 system since it launched in its revised form, calls are now being answered quicker and it’s a vast improvement.
“It’s also worth mentioning that there are many routes people can take to contact the police, not just 101, so I’d encourage residents to use the online reporting system or contact their local neighbourhood team.”