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8:10am Thursday 26th April 2012 in Leader
It is clear that when police officers put their minds to targeting a specific problem, that they can come up with some impressive results.
So Chief Inspector Colin Paine deserves credit for the work he has done to reduce crime in West Oxfordshire.
He became area commander for West Oxfordshire in April last year, when the rise in burglaries was a growing concern.
Burglaries of homes in the district rose from 150 in 2009/10 to 188 in 2010/11, and Mr Paine correctly focused in on this crime. Since then, the number has fallen to 127 — the lowest since computerised records began and a drop of 32.4 per cent.
The work to tackle thieves coming from Gloucestershire is particularly impressive, with officers visiting criminals in their homes and using high-tech cameras to track them on West Oxfordshire’s roads.
Police have managed to get detection rates of burglaries up from 13.3 per cent in 2010/11 to 26 per cent over the past year. But there is clearly more work to be done. The fact that only a quarter (25.4 per cent) of all crimes in the district are detected is a worrying statistic.
It is a concern that detection rates of burglaries for non dwellings (9.5 per cent), criminal damage (9.3 per cent) and theft from a person (zero per cent) are particularly low. We hope the good work continues and crime, the fear of crime and detection rates continue to improve. And we hope the cutting of opening hours at police stations around the county do not have an impact on the progress being made.