Edinburgh burglars targeting upmarket homes

Housebreakers are targeting Edinburgh's most affluent areas
Housebreakers are targeting Edinburgh's most affluent areas
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HOUSEBREAKERS are targeting the Capital’s most affluent homes – with some neighbourhoods seeing burglaries soar by more than 80 per cent.

Despite an overall 3 per cent drop in break-ins across the city, residents in upmarket areas have increasingly fallen victim to thieves.

A research report by price comparison website MoneySupermarket revealed that the EH4 postcode, which includes Barnton and Cramond, was among the top ten worst hotspots in Scotland for housebreakings.

Meanwhile, police figures from April to December last year showed the Almond ward, which includes Barnton, Cramond and Silverknowes, recorded an 81 per cent jump in burglaries.

But there was also drops in areas previously hit by thieves carrying out a spate of “smash-and-grab” raids.

The Southside-Newington ward saw a 43 per cent fall in break-ins over the eight-month period after a police crack down named Operation Dispatch.

Homes in the Meadows-Morningside ward, which were also hit by thieves looking for items such as iPads, iPods and laptops, posted a 3 per cent decrease.

The MoneySupermarket report found that the EH4 postcode represented 14.2 of each 1000 insurance queries on its site, placing it ninth in the country, while Granton was tenth at 14.1.

Police have so far solved 12 out of the 38 break-ins reported in the Almond ward between last April and December. Only 21 were reported during the same period the year before.

Councillor Alastair Shields, from the ward, said: “Nobody is immune from the threat of housebreakings. While these figures are disconcerting, it’s important people are aware of this so they can take whatever steps they deem necessary.”

Operation Dispatch, launched at the start of last year, saw officers boost patrols and make a number of arrests in the wake of a rise in housebreakings in areas such as Grange, Marchmont and Newington.

Cllr Cameron Rose, who represents the Southside-Newington ward, said: “I welcome the fact that police put in the resources when housebreakings were reaching a peak, which I know was causing concern and problems for a lot of people.

“But the police need to continue to focus on housebreaking because the 66 reported between April and December is still 66 too many. We need to keep the pressure up on thieves.”

Hannah Jones, home insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: “Thieves often specifically target areas with wealthy residents, or quieter areas where there’s not a lot of passing foot traffic, where the rewards are potentially greater and the risk of being caught in the act may be lower.

“Areas affected by higher rates of burglary insurance claims will see their premiums impacted – increasing by a fifth on average.

“Higher value properties could expect to pay even more than this.”

A police spokesman said: “Housebreakers are opportunists, who will look to profit wherever an opportunity presents itself and properties, which are suspected of containing large quantities of valuable goods are an attractive target.

“Last year, a number of high-value thefts from properties in the west of Edinburgh were reported. In response high-profile patrolling was increased as was crime prevention advice, to deter further instances and provide reassurance. A robust enquiry was launched resulting in several arrests.

Police praised for response

A BUSINESSMAN who was among a string of victims of burglars targeting Asian families in the hunt for gold today praised the police response to the crime spree.

Mohindra Dhall, 71, a former president of the Scottish Indian Arts Forum, lost more than £1000 worth of jewellery after thieves ransacked his East Craigs home in November.

He said three men were arrested in connection with the break-ins with extra patrols in west Edinburgh over the festive period. Mr Dhall said: “The police took very quick action, which was very good to see.

“I was not too shocked when the break-in happened, but it did make me take more security precautions, such as putting in extra locks. I also had insurance.

“But some of my friends who had their houses broken into did not have insurance.

“They also lost jewellery with great sentimental and emotional importance so they were left grief-stricken.”