Burglary rates in south Belfast have gone up by 16 percent, according to new figures released by the PSNI.
The police said burglaries in the area have increased by 16.3 percent (203 more incidents) compared with the previous financial year.
The statistics also show that overall crime in south Belfast was up by five percent (578 more incidents) in 2008/09.
South Belfast MLA and Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said: “I’m seriously concerned (that) the burglary rates are up and I’ve made that known to the police.
“Every time I speak to them they say there has been proactive policing, but the bottom line is there are too many burglaries and it’s their responsibility to do something about it.
“Also the clearance rates are disgraceful and need to be improved.
“There are too many officers behind desks — lets get the police officers on high visibility on the ground.”
However, the PSNI said clearance rates in south Belfast have improved by 1.7 percent for the financial year 2008/09, compared to the previous financial year.
South Belfast’s new B District Commander, Chief Superintendent Brian Maguire, admitted that while clearance rates have improved there is still a work to do.
“We are determined to focus on improving our record in tackling a range of offences and improving our performance in these areas,” said Chief Superintendent Maguire.
“We understand that burglary, in particular, is of grave concern to the people of south Belfast and we have put in place a range of proactive measures to tackle the issue.”
“Police, along with the community, want to see crime reduced in B District, and while the latest figures fall short of what we are hoping to achieve in south Belfast, they nevertheless show that we have made significant inroads in addressing a range of offences.
“It is worth noting that drug seizures are up 4.8 percent in south Belfast and 3.4 percent overall in B District, drug-linked arrests are up by 21.5 percent (34 more arrests) in south Belfast and 11.8% in B District.
“Also, with the exception of last year, which marked an all-time low, this year’s overall crime figures for B District are the lowest in many years — compared to 2002/03, for example, we had 9072 fewer crimes recorded in south and east Belfast in 2008/09.
“However, the latest figures show that we cannot afford to be complacent.
“My officers and I will be making sure that we continue our efforts to make B District safer.
“The figures for this District are positive in places, and I hope that they will reassure the community that police are tackling criminality.”