Burglars as young as 12 are targeting homes in York.
Nearly a thousand burglaries have been reported to police in the first six months of the year – with the highest number taking place in York.
A North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner meeting heard that the culprits are mostly British men aged between 12 and 21 years old.
Superintendent Mike Walker said that the age of some of the offenders makes it more difficult to tackle the problem.
Speaking at the meeting, he said:
It’s not helping in terms of the rebound. They’re getting charged but they’re only 14 years old.
They aren’t going anywhere – they’re back into the community.
The age range of offenders is now 12 to 21. Twelve is really young, so we’re seeing a lot of people come back.
The age of some of these offenders isn’t helping us when we’re trying to send them to prison or put them on to some scheme that will help stop them burgling.
Supt Walker said he was not sure if the young age of some burglars could mean that they are linked to other crimes or problems like county lines gangs.
A report prepared for the meeting says there were 270 burglaries in York between January 1 and June 1, with 32 taking place in Westfield.
It added that most burglars entered homes through doors or windows and usually took items such as keys, tools, jewellery and handbags.
But there have also been three burglaries in which guns were stolen – and the firearms have not yet been recovered and no arrests have been made.
Chief Constable Lisa Winward told the meeting:
There’s always been historically a very simple formula to [tackling burglaries] – the more dedicated resource you put to it – you solve the problem.
“It happens every time we have a spate of burglaries. And that’s the only way to tackle it.
In May, the panel heard that burglaries in York had more than doubled in the past year, with the number recorded in York in April 2019 51 per cent higher than in April 2018.