70 burglary suspects arrested in Northern Ireland during police crackdown
Police arrested almost 70 burglary suspects in a month-long crackdown against those breaking into homes and business in Northern Ireland.
As well as the 68 detained on suspicion of burglary during the operation, 42 others were held on suspicion of committing other offences.
A total of 42 charges were brought against arrested individuals, with seven others reported to the Public Prosecution Service.
The PSNI said domestic burglary rates during the period of the operation fell by 15%, to 460 from 540 recorded in the same time frame last year.
The number of domestic burglaries affecting people over 60 years of age dropped by 29% from 147 last year to 104 this year.
However, the decrease comes in the context of rising domestic burglary rates across the last year.
The number of domestic burglaries for the period April 1 2015 - end February 2016 is provisionally recorded as 5,988 - a 2.6% increase on the same period the previous year.
Rates of non domestic burglaries have fallen.
The number of non-domestic burglaries for the period April 1 2015 - end February 2016 is provisionally 2,989 - a 3.3% decrease on the 3,091 total for the same period the previous year.
Overall, there have been 8,977 burglaries, at both domestic and business premises, in the period between April 1 2015 and end of February 2016 - an increase of 0.5% on the same period the previous year.
More than 170 searches were carried out in Operation Cordella, which ran from February 15 to March 13.
Superintendent Simon Walls, PSNI lead for burglary, said: "Our enforcement activity has reduced the incidence of burglaries but we are not complacent. We have worked to focus our resources on locations and individuals and to raise awareness in communities about how people can prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime and keep their property safe.
"As we've said before, burglaries are a violation of the things people hold most dear - the possessions they've worked hard to buy and to enjoy as well as the items of sentimental value they cherish.
"Our higher profile in communities, making sure any burglary hotspots received increased attention, has been effective. For those individuals who have been charged, a conviction will lead to serious consequences. We will now look at how we can extend such operations against a backdrop of competing and finite resources."
Superintendent Walls appealed to property owners not to take security for granted.
"When you leave the property, make sure all the doors and windows are locked and secure and always keep your keys safe," he said.
Belfast Telegraph Digital