Just 26 per cent of burglars who committed crimes in Bedfordshire were caught, new figures reveal.
There were 20,822 break-ins across the county between January 2008 and December 2013 and, of these, in 5,472 cases offenders have been caught.
The figures, released by charity Victim Support and security firm ADT, were handed over by police forces across the country under Freedom of Information requests. Statistics also showed that 1,134 of the offenders were under 18 - that’s almost 21 per cent of the burglaries where culprits had been caught by police.
In neighbouring Northamptonshire, 20,297 burglaries, where just 17 per cent (3,391) of offenders are caught.
The area with the lowest detection rate is Wiltshire, where just 7 per cent of burglars were tracked down by cops but this area also had the lowest number of break-ins with 8,765 during the five year period.
A Beds Police spokesman said: “Tackling burglary offences is one of the force’s priorities and we are committed to both solving and preventing as many burglaries as we can. We take each burglary report very seriously and follow a number of lines of inquiry including gathering forensic evidence, speaking to witnesses, and gathering CCTV.
“It’s also really important that people take security measures to help deter burglars; such as always locking all doors and windows when out of the house, installing devices such as alarms and security devices, and not leaving valuable items on show.
“When you’re heading out, we’d advise you not to advertise the fact that your house is empty.
“Leave a light on if you’re out during the hours of darkness and make sure items such as post and milk don’t build up by the front door if you are going away.”
Householders are also urged to look out for their neighbours by reporting any suspicious activity to police.
If you believe is taking place dial 999, otherwise call the police non-emergency number 101.
For more crime prevention advice visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk.