Barnsley Burglary Victim Experience

A few weeks ago I spoke to a Barnsley woman who had been burgled.

She told me about the fear she felt when she came home to find the glass in her kitchen door shattered and laying in pieces on the floor.

The burglar had broken the glass, put his arm through the opening and turned the key from the inside to let himself in.

She said she realised afterwards that leaving the key in the lock in this way had been a ‘silly thing to do’.

But no one invites people to burgle their house and she shouldn’t blame herself.

Then she said something that has stayed with me even more.

She said that every time she goes home now the same feeling of fear wells up inside her and it takes a few minutes before she can go into the kitchen.

A burglary is not something that just happens to us and then we move on. It is not just about losing property.

It feels like a violation because the place we live is an extension of ourselves, perhaps even more so during this time when we have been confined to home for such long periods.

A house breaking can affect us for many years.

Bur for reasons that I find hard to fathom, there are high numbers of residential burglaries in our part of the country, higher than similar areas elsewhere.

This is why I have said to the police that I want to see them make burglary one of their top priorities.

We have to get on top of it and each month when I ask the district commanders to report to me on how their officers are performing, I ask them to talk about what they are doing to combat burglary.

I am pleased to say that Barnsley officers are being very active.

So the police have looked back through the data to see which communities in the Barnsley district, and elsewhere in South Yorkshire, have suffered most from this crime.

They have enlisted the help of researchers to try to understand why this should be and the help of other agencies – such as the local authority – to see what they can do together to reduce the crime.

So, for example, there may be a need for more or better positioned cameras or putting out information to more vulnerable streets.

By being smarter we will defeat the criminals.