ELITE robbery squad detectives have cracked almost 80% of their cases in Glasgow.

Police today claimed the city streets are safer than ever - because most of thieves and muggers are being collared.

An investigation by the Evening Times revealed the culprits behind more than three-quarters of robberies in the city's busiest police beat have been caught.

Today's figures are further evidence the city is shaking off its "mugging capital of Scotland" tag.

Senior police officers say the impressive figure is unheard of for a city the size of Glasgow - and is a 5% increase in detections from the previous six months.

Detectives put the success down to "intelligence-led and pro-active" policing tactics.

In the past year, the specialist crime unit has seen a dramatic reduction in robberies and a major increase in catching those responsible.

As revealed by the Evening Times last month, muggings in Glasgow fell during the past year, with the number of robberies -most of which took place on our streets - down by more than 40%.

So how are police solving so many cases?

"By using intelligence-led patrols in areas and at times where crime has previously occurred we can prevent the commission of crime", said Chief Inspector Alan Porte, area commander for the city centre .

"We have had some tremendous results.

"This is down to pro-actively targeting and gathering intelligence on those responsible, and high-visibility patrols on the city streets. Police presence has a significant preventative effect.

"But if a robbery does occur, high visibility patrols afford victims or witnesses the opportunity to direct police to the perpetrators quickly."

From muggings and mobile phone thefts, to raids on bookies, banks and shops, the unit has a wide remit. Smartphones, laptops, electronic tablets, cameras and cash are among the items most commonly stolen.

The Evening Times understands that there is currently a market for stolen iPhones in Glasgow -with snatched handsets being quickly re-sold.

The latest Apple products retail at around £500. Blackberrys, iPads and other handheld electronic devices are also among the items stolen and sold on.

Our figures revealed there were 42 robberies - both successful and attempted -in the city centre, between April 1 and December 31 last year.

In the same period, the previous year, there were 73 instances of the crime reported to police.

Most were muggings or street robberies - and few were violent crimes.

While a victim may have been threatened, no weapon was used in any of these incidents.

"We have access to public space and private space CCTV, which can prove vital when investigating a robbery", Mr Porte added.

"Any crime that is reported to us will be investigated thoroughly by specialist officers, including reviewing CCTV."

On-the-spot searches also have a vital role to play.

Mr Porte added: "Stop and search is an important tool for us in gathering intelligence about possible suspects.

"We can take note of descriptions and, in some cases, will recover stolen property from the search.

"Ultimately, stop and search is vital in reducing incidents of crime and keeping people safe.

"My message to anyone thinking about committing a robbery in Glasgow city centre is simple - don't.

"We will catch you."