By Bill Heaney
It used to be that you could go out for the day and leave your front door unlocked — and the back door too.
It didn’t matter where you lived, housebreaking wasn’t something people in Dumbarton had to suffer, at least not much of it.
But now in the 21st century Dame Jackie Baillie has felt it prudent to warn constituents to lock their doors and check the windows at their homes.
And she blames SNP mismanagement for leaving policing in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond at breaking point as new figures reveal the majority of housebreakings go unsolved.
Or maybe even not investigated because Police Scotland don’t have the staff numbers to cope.
Latest recorded crime statistics show that in 2022-23 there were 146 housebreakings recorded in West Dunbartonshire and 68 in Argyll and Bute.
In the same year 79.5 percent of housebreakings in West Dunbartonshire were not cleared up and the figure in Argyll and Bute was 73.5 percent.
A crime or offence is regarded as “cleared up” where there exists a sufficiency of evidence under Scots law to justify consideration of criminal proceedings – meaning the majority of housebreakings in both West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute have gone unsolved.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie has said these figures expose the pressure policing in both West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute is under, and warned the SNP-Green government against cuts in the area.
It comes after a Freedom of Information request by the MSP found that there are 40 fewer officers in Argyll and West Dunbartonshire than there were seven years ago.
Dame Jackie said: “It is concerning that, 8 in every 10 housebreakings in West Dunbartonshire and 7 in every 10 in Argyll and Bute go unsolved.
“These figures reveal the pressure police in communities across the Dumbarton constituency are under, with years of SNP mismanagement pushing services to breaking point.
“The SNP-Green government must rule out any further damaging cuts to policing in West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond so that the police have the resources they need to tackle crime and keep our area safe.”
Recorded crime 2022-23 – housebreakings:
|% Not Cleared
|Number /10 not cleared
|Argyll & Bute||68||73.5||7|
|Dumfries & Galloway||194||66||7|
|Edinburgh, City of||1449||80.3||8|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||4||25||3|
|Perth & Kinross||217||70||7|