The cul-de-sac where crimes go unsolved – BBC

Sharon Hornsby doesn't sleep at night and spends her days watching four CCTV cameras set up around her home because she lives in fear of being burgled.
Two years ago, the 61-year-old woke in the middle of the night to see men wearing balaclavas entering her back door.
While hiding under the covers of her bed she called South Yorkshire Police but before officers arrived, the burglars entered the bedroom and hit her with a baseball bat.
"I was on the phone while they were robbing me," says Sharon, who is disabled and has cancer. "He put this hand around my neck, and the first thing I thought was, 'My God, he's going to strangle me.' He took my chains from around my neck, my rings off me, and the next minute the baseball bat knocked me unconscious," she said.
Nobody has been charged for the burglary.
Sharon isn't the only one living on her street in this situation. Oak Grove is a quiet cul-de-sac of 14 bungalows in Doncaster. But in the past 18 months, residents living on the street or in neighbouring streets have been burgled 10 times, with other unsolved crimes going back years.
Those include thieves seriously assaulting pensioners, and stealing cars, bikes and scooters, leaving residents terrified.
"It's getting to be a crisis where people daren't go out at night. You've got to keep your eye on anybody that walks down the street," says Bob McGuiness, a resident and a former police officer.
He says officers often don't come out for burglaries or if they do, "It's probably the next day or three days later".
Another resident, Sylvester Watson, suffered an attempted break-in soon after moving up from London hoping for a quieter life. He says he now stays up until midnight out of anxiety that it will happen again.
"I'm always prepared and waiting," he says. "It's no way to live".
Of the 10 burglaries in and around Oak Grove, only one crime has resulted in a prosecution.
South Yorkshire Police say they attend all burglaries and that detectives fully investigated the break-in at Sharon's home but unfortunately no suspect was identified.
However the lack of burglaries being solved by police in the street is indicative of a wider problem.
The number of suspects charged for residential and commercial burglaries in England and Wales has fallen from 25,163 in 2015 to 11,271 in 2022, BBC analysis shows.
While the total number of recorded crimes has fallen significantly in this period, it means the rate of charges has fallen from 7.42% to 4.23%.
In two areas – West Mercia and Hampshire – forces charged suspects in just one in 50 residential break-ins last year.
Diana Fawcett, chief executive at the charity Victim Support, said she is seriously concerned by the plummeting rate of charges over the past year.
"It shouldn't be down to victims to install CCTV on their street in order to tackle burglary – the police must get a grip of these crimes," she said.
In October, police chiefs in England and Wales promised to send an officer to every burgled home.
Ms Fawcett said this is a "positive step" but it needed to be translated into "vastly improved outcomes".
A Home Office official said falling burglary rates were "promising" but there was "a lot more to do". They added that they welcomed the commitment from police forces to send an officer to the scene of every residential burglary.
South Yorkshire Police says its officers treat burglaries and victims seriously.
"We understand the trauma felt by victims of burglary, especially in your own home", said Det Supt Jamie Henderson.
"We know it can be invasive and distressing, which is why South Yorkshire Police ensures all residential burglaries are attended by an officer and a crime scene investigator so all lines of enquiry can be carried out".
The force said officers are given a checklist when attending a burglary to ensure that every line of enquiry is exhausted.
But residents of Oak Grove have lost confidence in officers.
"I'm terrified now because I don't sleep," says Sharon. "When I go to bed I have to stay awake all night watching telly till four or five when it's daylight."
Additional reporting by Chris Bell.
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