Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds combats high burglary rate

Image caption Burglary is a 'crime of choice' in Leeds

More than £1.3m is to be spent by Leeds City Council over four years to reduce the number of burglaries.

The city was criticised by the Audit Commission for its burglary levels in 2009-10.

Despite improvements in 2010-11 the city had 8,869 burglaries, the third highest rate in England and Wales.

Councillor Peter Gruen, chairman of Safer Leeds, said: "Burglary is a real crime. It touches people for a long time, and leaves emotional scars."

Safer Leeds is the crime reduction partnership for the city.

A Leeds City Council report into reducing burglary in Leeds stated that there is an established social acceptance of burglary in the city's criminal subculture and that it is seen as a "crime of choice".

In 2010, over more than 1,600 individuals were arrested for one or more burglary offences.

However, the figures for burglary are not distributed evenly across the city.

The biggest yearly increase of 28%, was experienced in Chapel Allerton.

Armley, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill also saw high increases in burglary.

'High visibility'

Mr Gruen said the money would be spent on improvements that would make a "measurable difference".

He suggested that council-owned properties would be fitted with more expensive locks.

Mr Gruen also said the number of police and police community support officers on the street made a difference and he was "mindful that high visibility is a great deterrent".

Another target is to reduce and disrupt the market in stolen goods.

Several reasons have been suggested why Leeds has a high burglary rate.

  • The high numbers of privately rented houses in multiple occupation, often with poor security measures
  • One of the largest student populations in the UK, many living in private rented accommodation
  • More of the affluent areas are often located close to deprived areas

Leeds recorded its highest ever burglary figure of 16,937 in 2002/3.

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