Police abandon nine out of ten burglary cases

Insurance companies raise their concerns over mediocre burglary investigations

Police abandon nine out of ten burglary cases in Denmark, according to a new report from the National Audit Office.

There is no reason to pursue a case if there is not enough evidence for investigation, claim police.

READ MORE: Most thefts and burglaries under 100,000 kroner not investigated

However, according to the insurance industry, this is a serious concern.

“Police give off a good impression when they come out and investigate after a burglary – but I think many will be disappointed to hear the police then go home and put the cases in a pile,” Hans Reymann-Carlsen, the vice president of insurance organisation Forsikring og Pension, told DR.

“There is a need for more comprehensive police investigations, as it is us who are left with the task of replacing the stolen goods.”

Police: There is no need to waste time
Bent Isager-Nielsen, a police inspector at Copenhagen West Regional Police, says it is “common sense” that police abandon many burglary cases.

“It all comes down to evidence,” he told DR.

“If there are DNA traces, fingerprints, witnesses or CCTV images, we can use this evidence as a starting point. But if there is nothing to go by at the initial assessment, then we may very well be forced to drop it. That way we can spend our time and resources on something else.”

Cases are stored
Once a case is filed, the police cease their investigation. However, if new information emerges, a case will often be resumed and reassessed.

“We keep a tight record of all our cases. That way, if we find a perpetrator responsible for a number of burglaries in a particular area, we reassess our records and may be able to crack the case,” explained Isager-Nielsen.

Scandi neighbours better at solving burglaries
Reymann-Carlsen is frustrated at the Danish police’s lack of action.

“We have three to four times as many burglaries in Denmark than they have in Norway and Sweden, yet our neighbours are twice as good at solving cases. To me, this is highly problematic,” he said.

In 2014, police closed a total of 274,000 criminal cases – about 30 percent of all cases.