HUNDREDS of hours of police patrols were carried out and more than two dozen arrests were made in Barnsley in the run-up to Christmas as part of a crackdown on rising burglary figures.
A total of 347 patrol hours, 124 curfew checks on past offenders and 945 visits to neighbouring homes where burglaries had occurred in the months prior have been done by Barnsley officers, while 27 arrests were made.
Burglary has been identified as a ‘key district priority’, according to Chief Superintendent Simon Wanless, with ‘continuing efforts to identify and bring offenders to justice’.
In the previous quarter there were 431 burglaries recorded, of which 280 were residential burglaries - but it is down from the same period last year where 476 burglaries were logged and 386 of those were residential.
“During the last quarter 27 arrests for burglary were made, 14 charges of burglary were obtained and one out-of-court of disposal applied,” a report, compiled by Chf Supt Wanless, who is the town’s district commander, said.
“The district continues to have a focus around patrols within our identified hotspot areas.
“This is due to co-ordinated activity within our intelligence, response, neighbourhood and CID teams.
“Intelligence and crime analysis is a key driver to identify our at-risk areas, offenders to target and gather intel to help support a wider problem-solving approach, led by the neighbourhood teams.
“Revised operational and tactical intelligence collection plans were utilised to develop preventative activity and target offenders.
“Intelligence analysis indicates that our most recent burglary hotspots have been in the Dearne, Wombwell and Central wards.
“However, the district teams regularly respond to emerging trends through daily monitoring and management.”
Work to create a ‘neighbourhood crime team’ within Barnsley is ongoing, the report revealed, as the town is the only place in South Yorkshire without one.
The Chronicle understands that due to its success across the county, police bosses support the creation of a Barnsley-based unit whose officers will solely focus on neighbourhood-related crime such as burglary.
“The team would focus on target hardening known offenders and will become experts in identifying and linking similar or like crime series,” Chf Supt Wanless’ report added.
“The aim of this is to increase detections of all burglaries and serve justice against the offenders.”
Superintendent Peter Thorp, who is the lead for neighbourhood crime for South Yorkshire Police, urged residents to report any suspicious behaviour to 101 or 999 in an emergency.
“Anyone can become a victim of neighbourhood crime - criminals do not care who their target is as they are looking for easy opportunities where they can slip away without being noticed.
“The more you do to make it harder for a criminal, the lower the chance of becoming a victim.
“We know that being burgled or having personal belongings stolen has a lasting negative impact on people, so we want to help share advice on what everyone can do to become less of a target to thieves.
“To tackle neighbourhood crime we are identifying trends on how criminals commit neighbourhood crime related offences and are developing problem oriented policing plans on how we can tackle these rising trends.
“We are always looking at how to improve ways members of the public report any behaviour they deem suspicious to us and are currently looking at processes to how we can make this easier, especially ways to help in identifying repeat offenders and getting them locked up behind bars.
“Unfortunately, we see an increase in neighbourhood crime types during the winter months.
“One example of a trend we are seeing are two-in-one burglaries, with offenders targeting one area repeatedly for several days or weeks before moving on to the next.
“The primary method of entry for these burglaries are lock-snapping on the rear door of a property.
“We have found that home CCTV monitoring doorbell systems act as a good deterrent as offenders will sometimes leave the premises upon seeing these.
“Please be assured that neighbourhood crime is a priority to the force and we will work tireless to get these criminals behind bars.”