Less than one in five thefts reported last year to the police have been solved, with the highest number of these crimes happening in St Julian’s. It transpires than in 2021 the total number of reported thefts in the Maltese Islands amounted to 4,478 of which 813 have been solved.

These statistics were divulged in parliament by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in reply to a question by Opposition MP Joe Giglio. According to the minister investigations in the other cases are still ongoing while the cited figure of solved cases was up to June 20.

A deeper analysis of the statistic confirms that most thefts occur in the peak summer months in touristic zones. On average around 500 thefts were reported in both July and August.

As expected, St Julian’s which comprises Paceville and St George’s Bay tops the list with 470 thefts which is roughly equivalent to one in 10 reported throughout the year. July and August are the peak months with more than 100 thefts reported from this entertainment hub.

St Paul’s Bay ranks second with 382 cases, with the main difference being that the reports were less concentrated in summer but spread throughout the year. Qormi (227), Sliema (216) and Hamrun (189) were also among the localities with the larger number of thefts.

The statistic also highlights the very low crime rate in Gozo where most thefts were reported in Victoria with just 36 cases in an entire year. This was followed by Zebbug (which includes Marsalforn) with 32 and Ghajnsielem with 31. Fontana registered the lowest number of thefts across the 68 localities of the Maltese Island with just one report which was filed in August 2021.

The low rate of success in theft investigations seems to be an issue even in foreign countries. In 2017 the BBC reported that more than two thirds of thefts were never solved. This conclusion had stemmed from an analysis of 18 million crimes across 43 police forces in England and Wales. One of the reasons cited for this disappointing success rate was that the police had limited resources. Most of the cases involved bicycle thefts followed by burglaries and thefts from persons. No such details were divulged in the aforementioned statistics of the Maltese Islands for 2021.

More recently, in August this year the BBC reported that most victims of burglary, robbery, and theft in England and Wales were not being given the justice they deserved due to low number of suspects charged. It also flagged the case of a car-theft victim who present evidence to the police in the form of CCTV footage of his vehicle being stolen from his house, only to be told 24 hours later that the case could not be investigated further as the police had drawn a blank.