Police expect crime to increase due to cost of living crisis

Monday May 30th 2022


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Police chiefs in Midlothian are bracing themselves for an increase in house-breaking and thefts as the cost of living crisis hits home.

A meeting of Midlothian Police and Fire Rescue Board this week heard that the number of recorded house break-ins and crimes of dishonesty over the first three months of this year were down compared to a five year average.

However acting local area commander James Robertson told the virtual board meeting the force was already preparing for the figures to rise.

He told the board a rise was expected in housebreaking and dishonesty “against the background of the cost of living crisis”.

He added: “We are taking action to mitigate this with additional patrols, particularly at night time.”

The board was told that during the last year a total of 1,746 acquisitive crimes were recorded including housebreaking – a reduction of 269 or 16.5% in the five year average.

Thefts of vehicles and from unlocked vehicles had both fallen lower than the five year average along with common thefts which were down 14%.

It said in the first three months of this year 596 shoplifting incidents were recorded but that was also down by 38 thefts compared to the five year average.

There were 194 fewer break ins to homes or other premises during January to March this year compared to the five year average with 66 homes targeted and 88 other premises.

The board heard praise for Midlothian Community Action Team (MCAT) for its proactive work within communities leading to a fall in crimes from break-ins to drugs supply.

It was told high visibility patrols had been held over the first three months of the year with “extra attention” given to Straiton Retail Park due to increased reports of shopliftings.

The report said the extra attention had led to a female being arrested and charged after stealing £300 worth of alcohol and two youths being charged with shoplifting, setting off a fire extinguisher and threatening staff.

And it revealed extra patrols had also been carried out in the Rosewell and Bonnyrigg areas in relation to youth disorder.

It said: “Following a large scale disturbance two youths were charged with possession of a Stanley knife and wooden stick respectively and a further youth was charged after CCTV enquiries revealed he had head-butted another youth within a store.

“Following this incident further engagement was conducted in the relevant schools where the effected youths attended, to warn all pupils about the pitfalls of being involved in such activities.”

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