New figures reveal only 10 per cent of St Albans and Harpenden burglaries were solved last year

PUBLISHED: 10:19 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:19 14 June 2017

90 per cent of burglaries in St Albans and Harpenden were unsolved in the past year.

90 per cent of burglaries in St Albans and Harpenden were unsolved in the past year.

Erwin Wodicka - wodicka@aon.at

New statistics have revealed about 90 per cent of burglaries went unsolved in St Albans and Harpenden last year.

90 per cent of burglaries in St Albans and Harpenden were unsolved in the past year.90 per cent of burglaries in St Albans and Harpenden were unsolved in the past year.

The data covers a period from April 2016 to March 2017, and have been collated by Herts Police to encompass all types of burglary - both dwelling and anything classed as ‘other’: sheds, out-houses and garages.

Out of 368 reported in St Albans, only 33 suspects were charged after police investigations - that is only about 8.9 per cent.

Half of those crimes were committed in houses and half were in ‘other’ - 19 people were charged for targeting homes and 14 charged for going into other buildings.

In Harpenden, there were 196 burglaries reported, but only 15 people charged in connection. That means only 7.6 per cent of investigations yielded a tangible result.

One hundred of those were burglaries of non-residential buildings, and out of these, only three suspects were charged.

London Colney statistics paint a similar picture, with only 14 charges brought but 156 burglaries reported over the period - just 8.9 per cent.

Over the three areas combined this all means only 8.6 per cent of 720 burglary investigations ended with someone being charged.

Home Office website Police.uk also collects its own figures and uses slightly different catchment areas - London Colney, St Stephens and St Albans East, (east); Harpenden and Rural, (Harpenden); and St Albans Central, North and West, (central).

This site’s statistics cover a variety of crimes from arson, robbery, and sexual offences, to drug crimes, anti-social behaviour, and theft - including but not exclusive to burglaries.

It reports that Herts Police failed to identify a suspect and plan to take no further action in 86.54 per cent of all criminal cases in the east region, in 89.47 per cent of Harpenden cases, and in 84.4 per cent of offences in the central area.

St Albans resident Marcin Feistner has recently installed CCTV outside his home to combat burglary: “I am concerned about it, and I want to make people aware of the situation.

“It makes me extremely uncomfortable and unsafe, and insecure - it’s just horrendous.”

He noted he sees police cars around, but never officers on foot, and asked about whether a higher police presence is to blame.

“I truly believe that the level of my safety, and the way my family feels regarding their safety, has definitely increased since I installed the CCTV, and I would do anything to make my family feel safe.”

St Albans Ch Insp Shane O’Neill insisted that Hertfordshire as a whole remains a safe place to live: “Preventing burglary and arresting offenders remains a priority for officers in St Albans as we understand the terrible impact this crime has on its victims.”

He noted that although investigations may not immediately result in an arrest, the officers never give up on a case.

“We utilise the full forensic toolkit available to us to build a profile of offenders. This includes, where possible, recovering DNA samples and other identifying material, which is kept on a database that is constantly referred to when offenders are bought into custody.

“Often, when a suspect is arrested on suspicion of committing one burglary offence they will later be forensically linked or admit to carrying out a whole host of other break-ins and we always go back to the victims to update them of this.

“In many of these unsolved burglary cases enquiries remain on-going and we work with other forces to identify offenders who may have come from outside of the area to target homes in St Albans.”

He added that St Albans Safer Neighbourhood officers work with victims to help them safeguard against a repeat attack.

“Our work to promote crime prevention advice among the local community never ends and we are continuously reminding residents of the simple measures they can take to make their property less appealing to thieves.

Find crime prevention advice at www.herts.police.uk.

Anyone who has information about a crime should report it on 101 or with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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