December 28, 2016 8:00 am
Updated: December 28, 2016 10:25 am

Calgary break and enters: new unit seizes over $1M in stolen property, lays hundreds of charges

WATCH ABOVE: With hundreds of break and enters every year in Calgary, police have made fighting the problem a service priority. In Part II of her special series, Nancy Hixt gives us an inside look at the new CPS break and enter unit.

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With 23 break-ins a day, it’s a massive undertaking to try and come up with strategies to curb the number one crime affecting Calgarians.

Every morning, officers from the new Calgary police break and enter unit meet to discuss the city’s latest crimes and trends.

“It outlines all of the break and enters–both residential and commercial–that have occurred within the city of Calgary in the last 24 hours,” Sgt. Jodi Gach said.

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The unit invited Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt to tag along with officers for the day, to get an inside look at how they are battling what’s become a crisis in the city.

READ MORE: Part I of Calgary break and enters series – victims say impact is life-changing

Since the unit was created in May 2016, investigators have laid over 700 charges and recovered more that $1.2 million worth of stolen property.

“It’s absolutely hard for us to keep up,” Gach said. “The reality is crime is increasing. We are in a tough economic time.”

Special coverage: Surviving the Slump

The unit was formed by enlisting investigators from all over the city and creating a centralized approach.

Sixteen officers make up two teams, led by two sergeants and assisted by four crime analysts.

“A large part of our success has come from the recognition that our offenders aren’t limited by districts,” Gach explained.

“We are coordinating the files and coordinating the arrests.”

Residential break-ins are the priority.

One of the biggest obstacles is dealing with the constant cycle of “catch and release” of repeat offenders.

READ MORE: New police strategy for break and enters targets prolific offenders in Calgary

Police say they’ve identified a number of prolific offenders who are responsible for hundreds of break and enters and have started to keep tabs on those criminals.

“If we focus on the people who are the most prolific, it will have the biggest impact,” Insp. Mike Bossley said.

“Tracking when they get in and out of jail, working with probation, working with the courts and knowing when they are in and out ultimately allows us to be more effective.”

Tomorrow in Part III of our special series, Nancy Hixt speaks with a serial burglar and  a high-ranking officer who is calling for action from the courts

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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