"Burglars are interested in two things: where should I go to find stuff worth stealing and where am I least likely to get caught?"
The latest data released from MoneySuperMarket has found that despite the overall rate of burglary claims dropping eight per cent in the last year, busy urban areas remain the biggest targets for theft.
MoneySuperMarket analysed 1.8 million home insurance quotes run on its website over the last two years (January 2015-December 2016) to identify the postcodes with the highest and lowest rate of claims for home contents theft within a five year period.
North-East London’s Redbridge (IG4) has crept up the rankings to take the number one spot this year, up from third place in last year’s analysis. However, the news isn’t all bad, as the area’s overall claim rate has dropped by four per cent from 56.7 per 1,000 quotes last year, to 54.7 per 1,000 in this year’s analysis.
North London postcodes dominate the rest of the top five, with Whetstone (N20), Chadwell Heath (RM6) and Clayhall (IG5) all making an appearance. Leeds (LS5) is the only area outside the capital to feature at the top end of the list, taking fourth place.
Cambridge (CB5), which avoided the top 202 last year, has risen to position 12 in the latest analysis, with a rate of 41.8 burglary claims per 1,000 quotes. Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester (M21) also features in the top 20, with a rate of 40.5 burglary claims per 1,000 quotes, alongside Leeds (LS8), which has a rate of 39.3 burglary claims per 1,000 quotes.
Elsewhere, repeat offending is rife in the top 20, with 11 of last year’s top 20 postcodes featuring once more in the rankings. However, residents of Dulwich (SE21), last year’s top hotspot, will be pleased to see it has fallen to number nine this year, with the rate of burglary claims in the area dropping by an impressive 29 per cent.
The MoneySuperMarket data reveals that the value of claims submitted in winter are on average 36% higher than those submitted in summer, probably because of the presence of high-value Christmas presents in the home.
The value of insurance for laptops, jewellery, watches and bicycles has also grown in the last year, as Brits invest in the latest gadgets. The average collective value of itemised possessions (items listed on contents policies because of their high value, typically £1,500 or more) was £4,192 per policy in autumn 2016, which is over a third (39%) more than in 2011.
Overall, the rate of burglary claims has fallen by eight per cent in the last year. Last year, the average rate was 13.58 per 1,000 quotes, dropping to 12.44 per 1,000 in this year’s analysis.
Lowest rates of burglary claims
Of the postcodes with at least one claim for theft, Monkseaton in North Tyneside (NE25) and Bideford in Devon (EX39) share the lowest rate, with 0.9 claims per 1,000 quotes3. Other areas successfully keeping burglars at bay include Witney in Oxfordshire (OX28), which shares a rate of 1.3 claims per 1,000 quotes with six other postcodes across the UK.
There are also 123 postal districts with zero claims4, including Norwich (NR26), Liverpool City Centre (L3), Manchester City Centre (M1), and Montrose (DD10) in Scotland.
Households can check how their area compares to neighbouring postal districts and other locations in the UK at MoneySuperMarket’s interactive burglary claims tool, whichdisplays the rate of burglary claims made in every postal area in the UK. Visitors can also access information on how to improve their home security and reduce the likelihood of burglary.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Burglars are interested in two things: where should I go to find stuff worth stealing and where am I least likely to get caught? Our findings suggest busy urban areas are the biggest targets for theft, but those who call leafy suburbia home should also be aware of the risks associated with the higher anticipated value of their belongings.
Burglary results in a double dose of trauma, with both emotional and financial repercussions taking a long-term toll on those affected. To avoid the turmoil, it’s vital to be vigilant against break-ins and to bolster home security to prevent them in the first place. It’s also crucial to ensure you have contents insurance in place to cover you should the worst happen.
Home insurance represents great value, with the average cost of combined buildings and contents cover falling steeply in recent times. However, anyone who hasn’t switched for a number of years will probably be paying substantially more than they could if they switched provider, making it important to shop around for a more competitive price the next time their policy is up for renewal.
It is encouraging to see the overall rate of burglary claims has dropped eight per cent in the last year, in line with the fall in recorded burglaries. That’s no doubt thanks to improvements in home security, although the falling cost of electrical items, such as TVs, might be significant as, simply put, there’s less need for burglars to steal items than in the past.
Households can now check the MoneySuperMarket Burglary Claims tool to see whether their area is at high or low risk from break-ins.”
Lynn Farrar, chair of Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network, said: “Burglary is devastating for many people and our volunteers work hard to help prevent people becoming victims. Most burglaries are opportunistic and many can be prevented; we recommend using the WIDE principle when securing your home. Householders should ensure their home has Window locks, Interior lights left on a timer when you’re away, Double or dead bolts fitted on doors and Exterior lights with a sensor fitted outside your home.
Taking these basic steps can offer 49 times more protection5 against burglary than homes without these measures.”