Police in South Yorkshire solve just one in five burglaries, new figures reveal.
Between January 2008 and the end of December 2013 there were 46,847 burglaries reported across the county, with 8,989 solved.
One quarter of the burglars caught – 2,237 – were under the age of 18, according to figures disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Supt Scott Green, responsible for South Yorkshire Police’s response to burglary, said burglaries were falling.
He said: “We understand the impact this type of crime can have on communities and we continue to focus efforts on ensuring victims receive a positive outcome and offenders are brought to justice.
“We continue to strive to improve our outcome rate for this and all crime.
“We carry out regular operations to tackle this type of crime and utilise all tools at our disposal to catch offenders including CCTV, forensics and Automatic Number Plate Recognition.
“However, a charge or conviction is not the only measure of good service. It is important to keep victims informed throughout the investigation and do everything we can to make them feel safe in their home after suffering a burglary.
“We do a lot of diversionary work with young people to prevent them from becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and work with local schools to educate children on the consequences of committing crime.”
Keith Whitehead, aged 62, from Gleadless Valley, had a £20,000 haul of war medals and jewellery of sentimental value stolen during a burglary in April 2013.
Some of the 200 medals were retrieved after a pal spotted some for sale on internet auction site eBay.
But Mr Whitehead said today: “The police charged somebody with handling stolen goods, nobody was ever prosecuted for burglary, so we never felt that justice was done.
“The burglary changed our lives, not only in terms of what we lost and the money we have spent on extra security but also the way it has left us feeling.”