Fewer burglaries but more pickpockets last year

Crime stats a wash in 2013

Fewer homes were burglarised in 2013 than the year before. The nearly 42,000 burglaries nationwide represented 1,560 fewer break-ins than in 2012 and nearly 7,000 less than in 2009, the peak year for burglaries in Denmark.

National police chief Jens Henrik Højbjerg is happy to see the numbers going down, but said that police need to continue to be vigilant against crooks.

“I am pleased that fewer people suffered the extreme discomfort of having their home broken into in 2013, but we need to keep the pressure on thieves or it is a positive trend that could very quickly come to an end,” Højbjerg said in a statement.

Højbjerg said that it is often organised gangs breaking into homes, and despite their best efforts, police have a hard time controlling the gang element.

Despite an over all drop in burglaries last year, the number of break-ins over the long Christmas holiday spiked to nearly 2,600 – the highest number in five years.

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Once a thief gets their hands on a homeowner’s property, it is unlikely that it will ever be retrieved. The clearance rate by police for break-ins in Denmark is a meagre seven percent.

Højbjerg said that most thieves are looking for goods that they can sell quickly and that police will continue to put pressure on those who sell or receive stolen goods.

“We will be cracking down on those who purchase stolen property,” Højbjerg said. “I urge you to resist ‘too good to be true’ deals so you do not become part of the market for stolen goods.”

Pickpockets flourishing
While break-ins are down, more and more people are having their wallets and other belongings pilfered by pickpockets. Even though the government and police have stepped up efforts to combat the sneaky thieves, the nationwide numbers are up for the fourth year in a row.

Nearly 21,000 incidents of pick-pocketing were reported nationally during the first half of 2013, a 13 percent rise form the year before.

The problem is even worse in the Copenhagen area, with some 23,276 incidents reported in the first six months of 2013 – a whopping 27 percent increase from the same period in 2012.

Commissioner Ove Randrup from the Copenhagen Police said that the majority of the crimes are committed by criminals from outside of Denmark.

“They come from Romania, Lithuania, Bulgaria and occasionally north Africa and travel in groups that specialise in various types of crime,” Randrup told DR Nyheder. “We have arrested many of them and banned them from entering the country for six years, but they often find a way back in.”