POLICE are changing the way they record burglary statistics
POLICE are changing the way they record burglary statistics and the new version will better reflect the community’s concerns, according the county’s crime commissioner.
The Home Office enforced change means that all burglaries that occur within the boundary of a residents’ property will count as a residential break-in – even if it is a shed or garage and not the home itself.
The new rules change the way crimes are officially recorded based on the circumstances of the offence - taking a more common sense approach.
The previous system used complicated criteria to determine whether a burglary was categorised as burglary of a dwelling or non-dwelling. For instance, a connecting door from a garage to a home could change whether a burglary counted as a burglary of a dwelling or not.
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones today warned the public that the change is likely to create the appearance of a dramatic increase in home burglaries – when in reality it is simply a change to the way they are categorised.
In May last year, for instance, there were a total of 163 crimes recorded as burglary dwelling and 336 as burglary non dwelling. In May this year, under the new rules, there were 327 burglary residential and 123 burglary business and community.
So although the overall level of burglaries dropped by nearly 10 per cent it appears that residential burglary has doubled.
Mr Jones believes the changes are a better way of reflecting the community’s view of burglary and give a clearer, simplified, view of crime – allowing the police to target their resources more accurately.
“To most people in the community a theft of any of their property is likely to be equally upsetting – whether their property is taken from their garage, shed or porch,” he said.
“The previous way of categorising burglaries was confusing, complicated and didn’t reflect what the public might expect”
“Officers shouldn’t need to waste their time finding out if a garage has a connecting door so they can work out what category of crime to put on their paperwork – they should invest that time in trying to catch the offender.
“The change will create an initial hike in the apparent number of residential burglaries but that is a small price to pay.”
Deputy Chief Constable Craig Naylor said the counting rules have been changed by the Home Office which means that comparisons with previous years cannot now be made with individual categories of the offence of burglary.
“However, if you examine all the categories of burglary under one heading, we have seen a 2% reduction in the twelve months to June compared with the previous year,” he said.
“We constantly monitor our performance, particularly in areas where the category of crime causes significant distress to individuals and when appropriate divert extra resources to tackle the issues.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
The new Home Office rules state:
“The classification of residential burglary includes all buildings or parts of buildings that are within the boundary of, or form a part of, a dwelling and includes the dwelling itself, vacant dwellings, sheds, garages, outhouses, summer houses and any other structure that meets the definition of a building. It also includes other premises used for residential purposes such as houseboats, residential care homes and hostels.
Where an outbuilding within such a boundary but not forming part of the dwelling building, such as a garage or workshop is used solely for business purposes this should be recorded as burglary – business and community.
“Where both a dwelling house and an outbuilding used for business purposes (belonging to the same victim) are subject of a burglary at the same time, then only the residential burglary is to be recorded.”
For more information contact Jon Grubb on 07780 953575 or at email@example.com.