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‘Low’ chance of housebreaking

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
'Low' chance of housebreaking

THERE is no 'epidemic' of housebreakings in the region says a police chief - despite it emerging as the number one concern locally in a survey.

Divisional Commander Ch Supt Gary Ritchie, pictured, revealed yesterday that, despite the public perception, there has only been a ‘slight’ increase in such crimes since last year.

And he said the region’s level of housebreaking remains one of the lowest in the country.
Ch Supt Ritchie said: “So there is no epidemic or crime wave, however it is a high impact crime for our communities.
“In places where you have such low levels, news of crimes like this spreads across the surrounding community so quickly and it’s therefore completely understandable that people think levels have increased or that there is a major problem.”
Noting a recent spate of housebreakings at rural properties, he said: “Unfortunately our geography works against us here. Criminals know that they can’t operate with impunity in our tight communities as people are all too ready to come forward, so they turn their attention to places that are bit out of the way.”
But he emphasised that the police can offer safety and security advice, adding: “Basically the more difficult we make it for criminals to enter a property, the less likely they are to even attempt to break in.”
Recognising the impact of the crime, Ch Supt Ritchie stressed officers ‘always react quickly and strongly’.
And Dumfries and Galloway has one of the highest detection rates in Scotland with nearly half of all incidents being detected.
He said: “We certainly benefit from the ‘good neighbours’ philosophy that’s so characteristic of the area and that helps to ensure that housebreakings remain at a low level and anyone heartless and stupid enough to commit that crime will, in all likelihood, be brought to justice.”
The police boss was speaking out following last week’s publication of the Your View Count poll results in which drugs, theft and violence were also cited as key concerns by the 278 respondents from across the region.
Ch Supt Ritchie said: “I hope this will reassure people that the chances of your house being broken into in Dumfries and Galloway are very, very low, but regardless of that your local police will prioritise the response to these crimes when they do occur and, more importantly, will continue to work closely with communities to ensure that we prevent them from happening in the first place.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of the support of communities and residents in achieving this, as long as we maintain that level of support from you, the criminals will stay away.”
* To arrange a free security survey of your home contact police on 101. To take part in Your View Counts your log onto www.scotland.police.uk/yourviewcounts

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