Police data has revealed the outcomes of burglary investigations in St Edmundsbury from January to November.
More than 200 burglaries reported in St Edmundsbury between January and November 2019 have seen the investigation end with no suspect identified, according to police data.
The data, which details street-level crimes and their outcomes, shows 358 burglaries were reported in St Edmundsbury over the period.
Of that number, 66.2 per cent were categorised as having a last outcome of ‘investigation complete; no suspect identified’, suggesting the cases did not reach a court hearing.
A police spokesman suggested there were limitations to the data, however, as the details of crimes could change after figures were recorded.
For instance, a crime listed as a burglary might later be reclassified as a different type of crime – but this might not be reflected in the data.
Det Supt David Henderson, of Suffolk Police, said: “It is important to point out that Suffolk is ranked first in the country for positive outcomes for dwelling burglary, according to national data. This means offenders have either been cautioned or, more likely, indicted in a court of law.
“That said, we acknowledge burglary can have a devastating impact for the victims concerned. With this in mind, tackling burglary remains one of the force’s priorities.
“We have a specific overarching strategy and a detailed delivery plan for this type of crime, at the heart of which is a desire to do our very best for victims by conducting effective investigations and exploiting every opportunity to identify, disrupt and prosecute those responsible.”
While this was the most common outcome for burglaries reported in the period, the figures also show that police were unable to prosecute a suspect in 28 cases (7.82 per cent). Meanwhile, just one offender was sent to prison and two suspects were charged as part of another case.
Analysis of the data has also revealed that the highest number of burglaries, 49, was reported in July, and the lowest number was reported in October, with 18.
Mr Henderson added: “Obtaining evidential material that reaches a high enough threshold for prosecution can be challenging and without this, securing a charge is not always possible. That said, we work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure files are compiled to the highest standard and all investigations are subject to detailed audit and scrutiny processes. We regularly secure successful convictions of burglars in this county. When forensic evidence is recovered from a crime scene which identifies a potential suspect, we fast-track inquiries to ensure we do not waste time in arresting suspected offenders.
“Through the work of our analysts we monitor any trends or forensic similarities between crimes and we are always aware that if we see any increase in offences that this may be due to a particular individual or organised gang. We also conduct analysis to identify any ‘hotspot’ areas and when these do become apparent we look to implement a relevant strategy to combat this.”
Insurance industry experts said figures such as these could be taken into account when premiums were established.
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: “It is up to individual insurers how they determine home insurance premiums, many factors – including local crime rates – are often considered.”
An Office of National Statistics report on crime, for the year ending June 2019, said there was a four per cent decrease in burglary according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).
“A rise or fall in police recorded crime does not necessarily mean the actual level of crime in society has changed,” the report said.
“The data can be affected by changes in recording practices, policing activity and victims’ willingness to report crime.”
It added: “Police-recorded burglary offences had shown rises in recent years (six per cent in the year ending March 2018 and three per cent ending March 2017).
“However, figures for the year ending June 2019 show the number of burglary offences decreased by four per cent.
“We believe this crime type is less affected by recording improvements than other types of crime, as it is generally well-reported by victims and well-recorded by the police.
“CSEW domestic burglary has shown no significant change in recent years.”
More by this authorRebekah Chilvers