Police warning after spike in burglaries

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Overall crime in Mid and East Antrim may be down by 1.2 per cent in the past six months, but crime types such as burglary and robbery have risen.

Details were contained in a report on performance against the Policing Plan, which was unveiled at the latest meeting in public of Mid and East Antrim Policing & Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) by District Commander, Superintendent Ryan Henderson.

His report revealed that burglary was the crime type that had shown one of the greatest increases in the district during the period, pointing out that a sudden spike in commercial burglaries in Larne had “impacted considerably” on the figures.

He said that residents leaving windows open when not at home had given rise to opportunistic burglaries which had also impacted on the figures and added that the number of burglaries involving older victims had increased during the period though he stressed that there was little evidence to show that they had been specifically targeted due to their age.

Statistics revealed police had failed to achieve the target of a two per cent reduction in the number of burglaries which saw an increase of 34 or a rise of 14.5 per cent, with domestic burglaries up for the period year on year by 14.5 per cent and a 21.9 per cent rise in burglaries where older people were victims.

It was also revealed that robberies had also increased year on year for the period, up 26.5 per cent from 34 to 43 crime.

Theft offences have fallen by 12.03 per cent, shoplifting/making off without payment are down 11.66 per cent, rural crime down 16.66 per cent and anti-social behaviour have reduced by 3.07 per cent.

Supt Henderson urging householders to secure their homes in the run up to Christmas, advising residents to close windows and lock doors when leaving their houses.

“You want the criminal to go past your house and think ‘it’s not worth the bother’,” he added.

The misuse of illegal drugs and legal highs remains a priority for police with drugs searches part of their “daily business”, Supt Henderson said.

He revealed that while the number of drug-related arrests was up by 4.41 per cent, the number of charges brought was down by 6.67 per cent and that seizure incidents had also decreased, by 10.48 per cent.

He said: “We are very much encouraged by the fact that we have seen an increase in arrests over this reporting period which demonstrates our commitment to this crime type.”

“We continue to rely very heavily on information received from the public about drugs and, whilst overall seizures are slightly down, we have had some notable successes acting on information from the public directly and through elected and community representatives.”