With crime up, seasoned burglars as well as teenagers and young people are giving police their worst headaches.
To curb the trend, up last year by 2.3 per cent over 2009, Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin yesterday revealed a number of tactics.
He said that 55 per cent of the 1 570 residential burglaries reported last year were the work of repeat burglars while 21 per cent involved under 19-year-olds.
Thirty-five per cent of the burglaries – which were 14 per cent higher than the 2009 total – involved criminals between the ages of 20 and 29.
Dottin noted that property crime was responsible for 17 per cent of all reported crime last year.
In 2009, residential burglaries accounted for 15.6 per cent of all reported crime.
“What is significant for us – and we are going to have to do a lot of work on this – is that 55 per cent of them are repeat burglars. They are professional burglars and so it seems the criminal justice system is just recycling them.
“We will continue to work with householders in a bid to improve security at a number of residences in order to deal with this problem of burglaries,”? he said.
Dottin said the hot item for residential burglars was laptop computers.
“Burglars had a love affair with laptops [last year].”
Dottin held a Press conference at his Roebuck Street office during which he said that the legal apparatus would be in place to facilitate such seizures.
“With interdiction, you take the drugs from the crime bosses and they will regroup. What we have to do is to go after their assets. We have to deal with this matter of drug trafficking.
“This has the support of the ministry [Ministry of Home Affairs] and steps are being taken to ensure that the legislative framework is there to facilitate what will be a robust confiscation and forfeiture regime,” Dottin said.
The commissioner said that drugs had infiltrated some communities in a major way and affected scores of youth.
In reference to predatory crime – direct contact between the victim and the offender – 183 people were charged and teenagers also figured prominently in this in these crimes of theft and assault.
Dottin said that 39 per cent were under the age of 19, 40 per cent between 20 and 29. Forty-one per cent were repeat offenders.
“These were essentially crimes committed by young people against young people and the property that was taken for the most part was cellular phones and jewellery.”
The commissioner also expressed reservations about the “cash for gold” practice, with large stashes of gold being stolen for export.
He said the demand for gold internationally was very high, a fact that had not escaped local operators who were keen to export the stolen commodity, primarily to the United States.
Dottin said there might be no business houses set up, but rather transactions and meetings spots would be organized via phone calls.
The commissioner also spoke of barter arrangements for jewellery, whereby people turned up at stores and boutiques and rather than pay for their brand name gear with legal tender [money] they passed on gold to effect that transaction. (MK)