We’ve taken a look at the statistics behind four of the major crimes in the country: personal theft, bicycle theft, burglary and car theft. Find out how often these crimes occur, how the people behind these crimes operate, and how to avoid them targeting you.


BurglaryDomestic Burglary

How long does it take?

A burglar can be in and out of your house in around 10-12 minutes. Burglars want to avoid confrontation so they will be as quick as possible. This means you should always be prudent with your home security, even if you’re only visiting the corner shop.

How often does it happen?Domestic Burglary Statistics

465,808 burglaries were reported to the police last year which works out as a burglary every 68 seconds in the UK. That means police are dealing with a staggering 1276 burglaries every day.

What does the burglar do?

  1. Circle the house: Burglars may keep tabs on a house for days, checking for anything valuable, as well as the habits of inhabitants.
  2. Check for entry: Burglars are opportunists and will check for any easy access to the home.
  3. Go to the master bedroom: Once inside, burglars will always check the master bedroom first hoping to find jewellery, money and other valuables.
  4. Check the rest of the house: After your bedroom, thieves will scour the rest of the house looking for things they can carry easily.
  5. Get away: A burglar will look to make a quick exit with all they can carry.

What should you do?

  1. Keep the outside of your house well lit (invest in a security light) and any hedges trimmed so burglars have nowhere to hide.
  2. Make sure all doors and windows have good quality locks, and you keep them locked. Common euro-cylinder locks can easily be broken by a determined burglar. Check our cylinder lock snapping guide for more information.
  3. Buy a safe. Having a safe in your room will ensure your most precious items are safe. Make sure it’s bolted to the floor.
  4. Make it as hard as possible for them to get what they want. Keep expensive items out of view and in hard-to-reach places.
  5. Keep your car keys on your person, or hidden.


Vehicle CrimeCar Theft

How long does it take?

A determined and experienced car thief can gain entry to your car in around 20-30 seconds. Once inside some simple knowledge can help them hotwire it. They may even use the spare keys you keep under the passenger seat.

How often does it happen?Car Theft Statistics

Every 1 minute and 21 seconds a vehicle-related crime is reported in the UK. This ranges from car and motorbike theft, to break-ins and criminal damage. According to recent statistics BMWs and Mercedes are the most stolen cars in the UK.

What does the thief do?

  1. Finds a target: Car thieves will often look for expensive cars that they can sell on for high prices.
  2. Bump the car: Clever car thieves may bump the car to check for pressure-sensitive alarms.
  3. Check the doors: Many drivers might forget to lock a door when in a rush, an easy way in.
  4. Break in: If it’s locked, they might smash a window or pick the lock.
  5. Drive away: Once they’ve broken in, they’ll make a quick getaway. The car is then ready to be sold on or stripped to parts.

What should you do?

  1. Park in a well-lit area in a manned car park, if possible. Make sure you hide money, CDs and stereo.
  2. Invest in a GPS car tracker or a text alert car alarm so you receive alerts if your alarm goes off.
  3. Make sure the door is locked, even if it’s outside your house or in your garage.
  4. If a thief manages to get in to the car then make it difficult for them. Keep your emergency brake on and avoid leaving spare keys in the car.
  5. Activate your car’s steering column lock. Most cars have a lock that engages when you turn your car’s steering wheel as far as it can go to one side. You could also invest in an old fashioned steering wheel lock, a tool police believe may come in to fashion again.


Personal TheftPersonal Theft

How long does it take to commit the crime?

It can take as little as 20 seconds for a pickpocket or thief to identify and steal from a victim. In the blink of an eye your belongings could be gone. Capital cities around Europe such as Prague and Madrid are infamously havens for criminals, whilst London tops the UK table.

How often does it happen?Personal Theft Statistics

Every 7 minutes there’s an incident of personal theft in the UK, 75067 incidents recorded last year. This can include outright mugging, to pick-pocketing.

What does the thief do?

  1. Looks for a victim: Somebody who looks vulnerable or has something easy to steal.
  2. Follows them: They may follow you, waiting for the right time to pounce. This may be when you’re about to enter or leave a carriage on the tube for example.
  3. Distraction: They may try and force distraction on you with an accomplice or with slight of hand. Some pickpockets simply hide their hands with newspapers.
  4. Grab and dash: A thief will grab your items and escape probably before you’ve even noticed.
  5. Sells your stuff: Burglars will look to sell your possessions immediately. They may already have sales lined up.

What should you do?

  1. Keep your bags closed and invest in a small padlock to keep prying hands out.
  2. Watch out for potential thieves. Try and not to walk alone at night, or in places that you do not know well.
  3. Be wary of people standing too close to you on public transport and don’t be drawn in by overly helpful strangers.
  4. Call the police immediately. If you’ve seen the crime happen call the emergency number, if you notice later call the non-emergency number on 101. The quicker you report it the more chance you have of getting your belongings back.
  5. Check online auction sites and local pawn shops, you may be lucky and come across your stolen item.


Bicycle TheftBicycle Theft

How long does it take?

In 2-3 minutes a canny thief could have cut through a bike lock and could be riding it away. On average, bike users have about 23 months before their bike will statistically be stolen.

How often does it happen?Bicycle Theft Statistics

Every 5 minutes 22 seconds a bicycle is stolen in the UK. That’s 98,011 a year, and that’s only those that are reported. Some estimates claim that around half of bike thefts go unreported.

What does the thief do?

  1. Looks for a good bicycle: It’s all about resale value, so named brands are a big factor.
  2. Checks the lock: Thieves will check how hard it might be to steal. Each type of lock, whether that’s a wire, chain or U-lock varies in strength.
  3. Looks around: The perpetrator will not want to draw any attention to themselves so will likely choose to work in more secluded areas.
  4. Rides away: The thief can make the perfect getaway on your bicycle.
  5. Sells it: Bikes can be sold to anyone, anywhere. Your bike could be sold at a local park or at a reputable bike shop.

What should you do?

  1. Make your bike look less appealing by removing flashy stickers and bright branding.
  2. Get a high-strength U-lock and attach your bicycle frame to a sturdy metal structure. A determined thief will get any bike, but make yours look harder to steal than the rest.
  3. Make sure your bicycle is parked in a public place. This way anyone doing something suspicious will be obvious.
  4. Take your handlebars, wheels and seat with you. Or if this isn’t an option, do your best to incorporate your wheels into your bike lock.
  5. Note down your serial number so you can identify it easily. Call up bicycle shops to ask them to keep an eye out for you and tell friends too.


Crime is an unfortunate fact of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to allow it to affect us. The Safe Shop hopes that by following the above steps you can go some way to not giving up your precious time, up to crime.

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