Whether you live in a city centre or suburb, the sad truth is that your local area always comes with crime risks – be that tiny or severe – and burglary can catch us out at the most unlikely of times.
We’ve summarised the UK’s burglary ‘hotspots’, the most commonly stolen and provided some prevention tips.
Top Burglary Hotspots in the UK
Source: UK Crime Stats
With areas in Manchester, Leeds and London all making the top burglary spots, these numbers seem to suggest that homes in urban environments are more likely to be targeted by burglars. This could be down to the fact that there’s simply a higher density of properties and people (i.e. potential burglars) in these areas, or it could be that the properties are less secure, perhaps owing to a higher rental ratio.
If you live in a city, then you’re probably more likely to live in a flat than a house, so we’ve put together some tips to help you secure your home.
You may be lucky enough to live in a relatively security-conscious building, but there will always be those who let people into the building just because they’re going the same way. This can be a risky business, because a burglar can get that bit closer to getting into your flat by being in the building itself. That’s why it’s important to focus on your front door;
- Your front door will be the main access point for burglars, particularly if you’re on a higher floor. Make sure your door is made from quality material like PVC or a thick, sturdy wood.
- You should have a five-lever mortice deadlock (which can often reduce your insurance premium)
- A nightlatch and a door chain is a good addition to give your door the best chance against a burglar.
- Your door should also have a spyhole so you can see who you’re opening the door to – don’t open it if you can’t see anyone.
- Hinge bolts prevent anyone attempting to remove the door from its hinges, which is ideal if your flat door opens outwards.
Don’t forget the balcony door either, as some eager burglars will still target flats above street level if they can use a ladder. Ideally, make sure that your patio or balcony door has at least three locking points to keep you safe.
Of course, most security tips apply to both flats and houses, including:
- Make sure windows and doors are kept locked when you’re not in
- Install an alarm and/or a CCTV system
- Get a trustworthy person to look after your home if you’re away
- Get comprehensive contents insurance
- Encourage a neighbourhood watch type scheme for your building/area
If you’d like more tips on securing houses, then take a look at our recent post on how to prevent burglars entering the building.
If you live in Stockton North, County Durham, congratulations, you’re living in the safest place in the UK. You can check your particular postcode for crime stats here, which can also act as a good guide if you’re looking to buy a house in an area you’re unfamiliar with.
Commonly Stolen Items
If you’re unlucky enough to live in one of the burglary hotspots and your home is targeted by a burglar, then it’s likely that the items stolen from you will be on this list.
Source: Office of National Statistics
One of the best ways to keep burglars from stealing these items is to make sure that they’re kept out of sight of the windows and doors. If a thief can’t see anything worth stealing, then they won’t make the effort to break in. Don’t make it easy for them – close the curtains and double check that windows and doors are locked at night to reduce the risk. If you’re going on holiday, don’t forget to bin things like fresh flowers – nothing says ‘empty house’ like dead flowers in the window.
Things like your handbag, car keys and purse/wallet will be high on the list, because they are likely to be kept near the front door, making them easy to snatch if they get in (or indeed if they can pass a hook through your letterbox). If you can, keep these items somewhere else.
More valuable belongings such as a laptop, a camera, your mobile phone and important documents, are usually kept in a home office or a convenient place, and a burglar will know where to look for these types of high value items. If you can, keep them in a secure place like a safe, or somewhere where a thief might not think to look. You should also make sure that you’ve got proper insurance coverage and that you back up your photos, documents and other data on a regular basis, so any sentimental loss is mitigated.