Why burglary victims are targeted again - several times

Burglar looking at laptop through window

Having your home broken into, and your valuables taken, is a horrific thing for anyone to deal with. So it seems particularly cruel that once someone has been a victim of a burglary once, there's a good chance that they will be targeted again: 28% of people get burgled for a second time - in the same property. Research from Churchill Home Insurance even found they had an 8% chance of being burgled a third or fourth time.

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There are a number of reasons for this. In some cases, if the burglar hasn't been caught, and your home remains vulnerable, they will consider it an easy target.

Other people just live in particularly vulnerable areas: this may be a busy urban area where people come and go so often that burglars can be difficult to track down. Others live in buildings with multiple occupants, and once someone gains entrance to the building, it becomes relatively easy to get through internal doors.

Some live in leafy suburbs, where most people are out all day, and burglars know they can move around without being seen, and take their time. Others live in expensive properties within a stone's throw of an area with a higher crime rate. It means offenders don't have far to travel in order to find rich pickings.

Part of the problem is also the fact that one in ten people who have been burgled say they didn't take the opportunity to improve security at their property. A repeat offender would be ale to use exactly the same method to get into their property.

Protect yourself

The best way to stay safe is to take sensible security steps. The good news is that most people do reconsider their security after a burglary. The average amount spent by people looking to improve security measures after being burgled is £314, while one in six spent less than £100 on new security measures.

However, even the most state-of-the-art security upgrades were not enough for 8% of victims, who claim that they moved home after being burgled.

When burglary victims did improve their security, the most popular measures to upgrade were front and back door locks (30%), and new windows (20%). Some 14% invested in a new back door, 13% in a security alarm, and 11% in a new front door. Less common measures were the 3% who bought a new garage door, 2% who invested in security lights, and 2% who bought a gate.

The best approach, of course, is to take sensible security precautions to avoid being burgled in the first place. It's worth considering the vulnerabilities in your home, and whether you need to invest in new locks or an alarm.

The study also showed that 26% of burglaries occur because people forget to lock a door - so at the very least, it's worth making an extra effort to check all the doors and windows are closed and locked every time you leave your home.

Martin Scott, head of Churchill home insurance said: "Being burgled is traumatic enough if it happens once, yet our research shows there is a genuine chance of it happening again and again. We would encourage everyone to consider the weak points in their home security, whether they have been burgled or not and ideally install highly visible deterrents such as CCTV, motion activated lights and burglar alarms. Burglars avoid targeting properties that are difficult to enter and leave, so don't be an easy target for them."
Top 10 burglary hotspots
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Top 10 burglary hotspots

Ed Miliband is pictured in Ilford, on the outskirts of this troubled area.

Burglary is a top policing priority for IG3 - which also has related issues with drug use and anti-social behaviour.

Opportunistic crime has been identified as a particular threat, and police are hoping to reduce the number of offences largely by getting people to improve security and reduce the number of opportunities.

Cockfosters has changed a bit since this 1950s photo. Nowadays burglary is such a problem that local police have made this their top priority .

They are aware that a number of known offenders continue to operate in the area, and that opportunistic crime is rife. As a result they have beefed up patrols.

This part of West Yorkshire, on the outskirts of Bradford, seems quiet, but has seen an unusual number of burglaries.

Police insist that the number of burglaries in the area is falling, but add that a few prolific burglars in the past have affected the figures.

Distraction burglaries are a particular problem here, where homeowners are targeted by criminals who talk their way into a property, and then distract the homeowner while they steal valuable belongings. The victims in these cases tend to be elderly and vulnerable.

This is another busy postcode in East London, with a high turnover of residents, making it easy for burglars to operate.

It is among Britain's less affluent areas, with problems with street crime and anti-social behaviour, and opportunistic burglars are known to operate locally.

Burglary has recently been identified as a priority crime in this part of Doncaster, along with spots of anti social behaviour and problems linked with drug use.

The police are working to encourage better security measures to combat professional burglaries targeting the most vulnerable homes.

This is a very diverse area, with the posher streets proving rich pickings for career burglars. The postcode area is also home to some areas of real deprivation, and within one of the estates in particular there is a real problem with crime.

It's also on the doorstep of Stretford - where Katie Price once tried her hand at politics

The former home of West Ham's Bobby Moore (pictured moving in) is another high placing on this list for East London.

It’s a busy area, with a reasonably high turnover of residents, making it easy for burglars to pass undetected.

One recent trend has been the targeting of Asian families for their family jewellery. Police are now suggesting that anyone with valuables like this at home should invest in a home safe - and improve the overall security of their property

East of London, and home to the famous Ford plant, is the nation’s overall burglary claim hotspot.

Theft has been a long-term problem in the area, and police say it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly why. They suggest a number of career criminals, ineffective security, and people storing valuables at home could be contributory factors.


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