HUNDREDS of hours of police patrols have been undertaken at burglary hotspots in Barnsley - but work will continue after it was revealed more than 250 break-ins occurred during a three-month period.
The Chronicle can reveal the crime is being treated as a priority by officers in the town and resources are being poured in tackling incidents.
More than 250 patrol hours were put in during the last quarter, which yielded 25 arrests, while 500-plus visits to neighbouring properties were carried out.
Wards including Dearne, Hoyland and North East have become worst-hit areas, according to South Yorkshire Police.
A report, from Chief Superintendent Simon Wanless, said: “Residential burglary remains a key district priority, with significant efforts to tackle offending and bring offenders to justice.
“During the quarter there were 258 residential burglaries - a reduction
from 329 in the previous quarter.
“Effective, coordinated activity across functions such as intelligence, response, neighbourhood policing, CID and custody continue to ensure evidential opportunities are maximised.
“Revised operational and tactical intelligence collection plans to focus preventative activity and target offenders.
“Intelligence analysis indicates that our most recent burglary hotspots
have been in the Dearne, Hoyland and North East areas.
“However, the district regularly responds to emerging trends through daily monitoring and management.
“Barnsley officers and staff continue to provide a strong, efficient and effective service to communities.
“Over the coming months, the cohorts of student officers returning to the
district continues at pace and in time will significantly enhance our capacity to meet demands within our response function, whilst supporting long-term problem-solving work with our partners
through the neighbourhood policing teams.
“The command team continues to provide oversight and leadership of victim contact area to ensure officers provide the expected level of service to victims of.
“Over the previous quarter within Barnsley, 74 per cent of victims surveyed across all victim groups were at least ‘fairly satisfied’ with the overall level of service which is in line with the force average and
increased significantly from the previous quarter that was at a disappointing 64 per cent.”
However, the force are attempting to increase conviction rates of burglaries, which just 6.9 per cent of perpetrators being charged last year.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Burglaries that do not result in a charge are a worry everywhere in the country.
“The reasons that burglaries are hard to detect are not hard to understand.
“Offenders know how to avoid leaving finger prints or DNA, they know that even where there is CCTV, if they wear a balaclava or pull the peak of their baseball cap down, and they can keep their face hidden from the camera.
“Detectives have to get smarter by building a picture - does this burglary fit a wider pattern? Are there known offenders in the area?
“And so on - if a case is going to be made that will satisfy the Crown Prosecution Service and then the courts.”