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Crime: Burglary

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many burglaries have been recorded in each of the past three years in south Belfast; how many people have been convicted for these offences; and what are the statistical trends in this area in relation to the sentencing level for multiple offences. [HL3999]

Table 1 gives the number of burglary offences recorded in south Belfast police district command unit, while table 2 gives the number of convictions relating to the same area. Data in tables 1 and 2 should not however be compared, for three reasons. First, data in table 1 refer to the DCU in which the burglary was recorded, while table 2 refers to the DCU in which an offender's address falls. Secondly, an offence recorded as burglary may subsequently be prosecuted on a different basis—eg, as theft. Thirdly, conviction data are collated on the principal offence rule, where only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Because of the principal offence rule, it is not possible to identify those offenders convicted of multiple offences of burglary and any subsequent sentencing trends. It is only possible to give sentencing information for those offenders for whom burglary was the principal offence.

Table 1 covers the financial years 2005-06 to 2007-08, while table 2 covers the calendar years 2004 to 2006 (the latest available years).

The Government are giving particular attention to the problem of burglary in Northern Ireland. In 2007-08, a total of 11,698 burglary offences were recorded by police in Northern Ireland, which represents a net 37 per cent drop in the level of burglary since 2002-03 (when 18,659 offences were recorded). During the same period, the number of domestic burglaries recorded by the police decreased by 34 per cent, from 10,125 to 6,712. These reductions largely correspond with the timing of a NIO PSA target to reduce the recorded level of domestic burglary between 2001-02 and 2006-07, the final outturn of which showed levels of burglary down 25 per cent, well ahead of the 15 per cent target.

Table 1: Number of burglary offences recorded in south Belfast police district command unit 2005-06 to 2007-08


Number recorded







Source:PSNI, Central Statistics Unit

Table 2: Number of convictions, method of disposal and the average immediate custodial sentence length (in months) for burglary for south Belfast police district command unit 2004-20061




Number of convictions




1. Average sentence lengths exclude those justice centre order

Source: NIO, Statistics and Research Branch