Police have admitted they face a fight following an alarming increase in the number of homes and cars being broken into in Northamptonshire.
Burglaries and vehicle crimes across the county have soared over the past 16 months, coinciding with the period when the focus of Northamptonshire Police instead shifted towards tackling violence.
House burglaries increased by 10 per cent in the 12 months up until September, while vehicle break-ins increased by 11 per cent.
And figures obtained by the Chronicle & Echo this week show burglary has continued to rise since then.
In the peak month of December, last year, police recorded 347 burglaries - more than 10 homes a day.
The force saw huge falls in burglary, car crime and robbery during its high profile Operation Guardian. The impact of the operation has, however, diminished significantly since the launch of another operation, to fight violent crime.
Speaking this week, the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police, Adrian Lee, challenged officers across the county to “stop thinking we can only have one priority”.
He said: “The message from the force has been very strong. This force has to be good at reducing violent crime and serious inquisitive crime such as the burglaries and the motor vehicle theft.
“We’ve got to stop thinking we can only have one priority. We’ve got to be good at doing both and we are becoming extremely good at doing both.
“The number of crimes of burglary and theft from vehicles is going up. It’s contrary to a national trend and partly to do with some of the operations we’ve done, people coming out of prison and we’ve just got to manage those offenders better.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Simon Blatchly, the force lead on acquisitive crime, added: “Since the beginning of April we have made 1,147 arrests relating to serious acquisitive crime. We have executed 124 warrants across the county, and we continue to speak with those that we suspect are offending.
“We will continue with our tactics to keep the pressure on offenders and targeted events are taking place every month across the county to educate members of the public about crime prevention.”
THE county’s most senior police officer has called on shopowners to do more to help cut shoplifting.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee this week said the continued economic downturn had caused a rise in shoplifting. It was now a “serious issue”.
Addressing the police and crime panel on Tuesday, he said: “Shoplifting is on the rise. Because of the economic downturn a lot of people thought shoplifting would go up. It didn’t, but now it has.
“People are stealing to fund the necessity of every day living.”
He added: “The retail trade needs to do more. There are examples where the need to make money overrides the crime prevention advice we give them.”