Burglaries surge over Christmas period - but most are going undetected by West Midlands Police

New figures show where West Midlands Police rank in the solving burglaries

The period between Christmas and New Year can prove particularly fruitful for burglars, with homes full of new presents left empty as occupants visit family elsewhere.

This year saw an 11 per cent spike in break-ins, figures from the Liberal Democrat Party analysed by the Local Democracy Reporting Service have shown.

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Yet in most of these cases the culprits are not being caught by West Midlands Police - with new figures showing five in six burglaries are unsolved.

The local force ranks bottom of the league table with 90.1 per cent of West Midlands burglaries going undetected over the Christmas period.

Other forces showing low detection rates include Metropolitan Police with 89.7 per cent and Surrey Police with 88.8 per cent.

Across the whole of England and Wales a total of 44,220 burglaries were unsolved in October to December.

West Midlands Police made an arrest on Thursday

How do the latest figures compare to previous years in the West Midlands?

In the last five years, West Midlands Police recorded an average of 4,473 domestic burglaries per week, with 5,073 between October and December.

A total of 84 per cent of cases recorded in the last three months of the year are closed with no suspect identified, compared to 81 per cent of those recorded in the rest of the year.

What has the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said about the stats?

Simon Foster, Labour’s West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said: “To be burgled at any time of the year is always deeply distressing and I fully understand the concern people have.

“Sadly, despite West Midlands Police working incredibly hard to prevent and tackle burglaries, the force has faced huge government cuts over the last decade, reducing the number of officers in our region by a quarter.

“That is why I have urged MPs in our area to join me in my campaign for fairer funding, so I can return officer numbers to the levels last seen in 2010 and bring burglary levels down.”

What have local councillors said about the findings?

Cllr Bob Piper (Lab, Abbey), and cabinet member for community safety at Sandwell council, said: “A burglary at any time of year is very traumatic – and even more so at Christmas.

“We work closely with the police and other partner organisations through the Safer Sandwell Partnership throughout the year to prevent and tackle a wide range of criminal activities, including burglaries.

“In advance of the winter period and darker nights, Sandwell’s Safer Six campaign promoted safety, crime prevention and healthy living advice, including working with volunteers from Sandwell Crime Prevention Panel to share security advice.

“I would also urge people to follow the burglary prevention advice on West Midlands Police’s website.”

Cllr Jon Hunt (Lib Dem, Perry Barr), who stood as a candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Liberal Democrats campaigned for a return to community policing in our region – and in previous decades pioneered it in Birmingham.

“The government needs to give the police the resources and the guidance and the flexibility to get effective police teams back into our neighbourhoods.”

What has the Liberal Democrat Party said about the findings?

Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, said: “Everyone should be able to feel safe in their own homes over the Christmas period, and know that if someone does break in they will be caught and punished. But with the vast majority of burglaries going unsolved, that’s simply not the case for far too many people.

“This Conservative government’s failure to tackle crime is letting victims down and letting criminals get away with it.

“Liberal Democrats are working hard to make our communities safe and help residents feel safe too. We need a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to local people.”

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