The number of burglaries went up across Sussex by 622 – or 13 per cent – over the past year, according to a senior officer.
The increase from almost 4,800 to more than 5,400 – or in excess of 100 a week – was revealed at a “performance and accountability meeting” hosted by the Sussex police and crime commissioner.
Katy Bourne was told that only 5.7 per cent were solved or just over 300 over the 12-month period to the end of last month.
The meeting, last Friday (20 October) was told that the burglary figures covered break ins and thefts from people’s homes as well as from businesses and community buildings.
Mrs Bourne asked if the clear up rate was good enough. Deputy Chief Constable Dave McLaren said: “Absolutely not. We can and should be doing much better than we are just now.”
Mr McLaren said that work was under way to “free up” officers from demands “which take them away from crime investigation”.
He said: “We want our officers to have as much time as they possibly need in order to carry out investigations.
“I’m satisfied that we do have the structures and governance in place to drive forward improvements in this area and I’m confident that, as we continue to focus on this as a priority, the detection rate and outcomes will improve.”
He told Mrs Bourne that officers attended “well above 80 per cent” of burglaries, with a policy of attending every one which took place in someone’s home.
Mrs Bourne said that she would raise the matter again at a performance and accountability meeting in January.
She said: “Hopefully, we’ll be able to see those solve rates go up because there’s a lot more work that needs to be done here and it is important.”
Mr McLaren spoke about overall crime rates. He said: “Since the pandemic ended, we’ve seen a rise in all crime right across the board.
“In terms of burglary there has been that increase also but we haven’t yet got to the same levels (as) pre-pandemic.
“We’re talking about three crimes per 1,000 population, so a really, really low number of crimes.
“When we look across the board in terms of other areas, you are less likely to be the victim of burglary in Sussex than you are in other parts of the country.”
As the nights draw in, Sussex Police has started to use social media to advise people on how to keep their homes and belongings safe, using the hashtag #BeatTheBurglar.
One item that has proved helpful in detecting crime is the video doorbell. Mr McLaren said that around 50 per cent of detected cases were spotted by video doorbells or CCTV.
He added: “You only have to walk a couple of hundred yards down the street and you’re on CCTV left, right and centre.
“From a public safety point of view and certainly from protecting your own property, these are really strong deterrents, but also represent a real opportunity for us in terms of identifying who’s responsible for these crimes.”