Burglary hotspots: the locations with the worst rates
Burglaries are common across England and Wales, with opportunistic offenders often looking to take advantage of insecure homes and open windows. In fact, there are over 255,000 domestic break-ins annually on average. But which places are the most susceptible to burglaries, and where is it set to get worse?
We’ve uncovered the number of domestic burglaries reported to police forces in England and Wales between 2015 and 2021 and forecasted future crime rates for each location until 2026.
Our research highlights that, despite break-ins decreasing over lockdown, most of England and Wales will see domestic burglaries increase year-on-year. Burglaries are set to rise by an average of 24% by 2026 across England and Wales.
Delve deeper into our findings and discover expert advice on how to keep your home safe.
Where do the most burglaries happen?
Currently, the burglary hotspot is London, with 43,374 cases recorded in the capital in 2021 alone. Perhaps unsurprisingly considering its size and population, London leads for the most break-ins, with a total of 350,438 since 2015.
In second place, we head to the North-West and Greater Manchester area, which saw 15,938 reported burglaries in 2021, followed by the West Midlands (14,183) and East Midlands (13,931). Rounding off the worst five locations by burglary rate, is West Yorkshire (10,213) , where Leeds-based Rosie and Cameron have each had the misfortune of their property being broken into.
Renter Rosie explains that burglars threw a large stone through her window to grab her partner’s laptop, while student Cameron says that burglars scaled his drainpipe to peer through an open upstairs window, before breaking in through the back door and taking games consoles, laptops, and expensive electricals.
The locations where crime rates are rising
Looking at projected burglary figures for the next five years, Hampshire is set to see the highest increase in break-ins, rising by a huge 70%.
Cumbria is expected to see burglaries go up by 65%, while Kent (+61%), Cleveland (+56%), Lincolnshire (+53%), Dyfed-Powys (+50%), Sussex (+50%), and Cheshire (+49%) can also expect significant increases.
Where are burglary cases due to fall?
Domestic burglaries in England and Wales fell by almost a third (31%) between 2020 and 2021, likely driven by lockdown restrictions and people spending more time in their homes*.
As our research shows, this trend isn’t here to stay, with most of England and Wales forecast to see cases steadily increase until 2026. But there are a handful of locations where break-ins are set to decrease.
Devon and Cornwall can expect burglaries to fall the most significantly, with break-ins set to decrease by 30% within the next five years. Essex (-23%), Bedfordshire (-10%) and Leicestershire (-9%) will also have fewer burglaries within five years.
Top tips to keep your home safe
With break-ins predicted to rise, it’s important to protect your property. Break-in victims Rosie and Cameron outline practical changes they’ve made since being burgled, and Managing Director of home security company RE:SURE, John MacMahon, offers his top tips for keeping your home safe.
1. Install a floodlight
Often overlooked by homeowners, floodlights can help to scare off potential intruders. The light makes them easier for neighbours to see and allows CCTV cameras to better record them.
2. Don’t publicise your holidays
When you go away from home, whether for a few days or travelling abroad, don’t tell everyone about it on social media, as burglars will often browse online profiles to see if people are away. This is easier said than done if you’re on holiday and want to keep your friends and family up to date with your adventures, so the next best thing to do is make sure your social media accounts are set to private!
3. Invest in remote CCTV
Remote CCTV monitoring proactively protects your home, reducing the chances of a break-in. Cameras are connected to a team of 24/7 operators, who will be notified if movement is detected and inform the police if they think the activity is suspicious. The operators can also issue warnings to ward off the intruders.
4. Don’t leave valuables by your windows
Rosie’s advice is to never leave your valuables unattended by an easily accessible or visible window, even if you’re only in the next room – opportunists will chance it if they can smash and grab. She also suggests fitting venetian blinds, as they’re noisier than curtains and can alert you to a potential thief.
5. Consider smart lightbulbs
Cameron’s advice is to buy smart lightbulbs which can be controlled remotely from your smartphone. You can trigger them to switch on throughout the day, giving the impression that someone is in the house, which will deter burglars from trying to break in.
To determine the safest and most dangerous areas for burglaries, we analysed historical police force weighted data (per 1,000 people) from the ONS for England and Wales between 2015 – 2021. The five-year predictions have been calculated using the standard Excel forecast function (Forecast.ETS). The predicted value is a continuation of the historical levels of burglary in the specified target date, showing a continuation of the timeline. Forecasts produced using the ETS algorithm are weighted averages of past observations, with the weights declining as the observations get older. This means that more recent burglary data contributes more to the predicted future values.
*Source [ONS] Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2021