Derry’s police chief has vowed to crack down on thieves following a 17% surge in thefts in the city.
There were 266 more thefts reported in the Foyle area in the 12 month period to March 2012 than in the same period in 2010-11.
The surge was revealed yesterday with the release of the Northern Ireland’s annual crime statistics which were broken down into police districts and command areas. The statistics show a general rise in crime in Derry over in 2011-12 with offences reported to police in Foyle increasing by 374 to 7,820 - a total hike of 5%.
There was also a rise in offences against the person crimes which include so-called punishment style shootings. Offences against the person crimes rose in Derry city by 4.9% last year, an increase of 117 more offences compared to 2010-11.
Tackling thefts, including metal thefts and violent offences, including attacks by armed vigilante groups, will be priorities for police in Foyle in the coming months, the local Police Area Commander, Chief Inspector Garry Eaton said yesterday. He said that, in particular, his team is “developing a strategy to deal with metal thefts in the area”.
He added: “I am disappointed with the increase in crime overall and clearly there is still work to be done. Officers in Foyle will continue to deliver the personal and professional service you [the public] have asked for. You have demonstrated your support for the service we are providing and I would ask for your continued support and assistance as we move forward and continue to develop community relationships and tackle the issues that matter to you.”
The PSNI crackdown on burglary - which was prioritised last year by then Acting Area Commander Jon Burrows - has proved successful with the number of burglaries reduced by 11.1%, with 66 less compared to the previous year. Instances of domestic burglary were down by 13.7% while the rate of commercial burglaries was cut by 7.2%. The local police drive to curb anti-social behaviour - another of the priorities outlined last year - has also been fruitful with a 16.6% decrease in antisocial behaviour in Foyle in 2011-12, a total of 968 less incidents reported.