Britain's burglars are on the prowl. We are all feeling the pinch at the moment and the criminal fraternity is responding by doing their own share of pinching.
So where are the places in Britain that you are most likely to be burgled, and how can you protect your home?
Burglary hotspotsResearch by Moneysupermarket.com examined the number of claims per 1,000 inquiries, and identified the riskiest spot in the UK as Stoke Newington in North London, closely followed by Apperley Bridge in Bradford and West Bromwich in the West Midlands.
Overall in the top 20, homeowners in Leeds and London were most likely to make a home insurance claim for theft or burglary, followed by Bradford.
ReasonsIn some instances, these are areas with a high turnover of residents, so opportunistic thieves have nothing to lose by keeping an eye out for unguarded homes in their area. In other instances, they are areas where more affluent homeowners live cheek-by-jowl with their poorer neighbours. An open window here is an open invitation to those who have to watch their richer neighbours every day and feel their resentment building.
It's a cheerful thought for anyone with prized possessions in these areas. But however rife your area is with crime, there are ways to keep your belongings safe.
TipsMoneySupermarket's top tips to keep your home safe from thieves:
- Keep all items of value away from windows. This will ensure that anything of value is kept out of sight from an opportunistic thief.
- Ensure that you lock all windows and doors before leaving the house. This might sound a bit of a no brainer, but by neglecting this simple measure you are effectively leaving the door wide open for thieves to come in and out. It will also make it more difficult for you to make a claim as there will be no signs of a forced entry.
- Regularly check the state of your locks. It's easy to forget that locks do not have an unlimited lifespan. If your lock has seen better days then this could make it easier for a thief to break in, so replace any older weaker locks with new ones. This could also drive down the cost of your premiums.
- Don't leave items of high value lying around the house. If a thief does enter your property they aren't going to want to stick around for long, so will grab anything in sight that may be of a high financial value. By storing away items such as jewellery, laptops, cameras and MP3's, they are more likely to walk away empty-handed.
- Install a good home security system. An approved and professionally maintained alarm will not only make your home more secure but it could also make your premiums lower. Some insurers will offer a security discount if you have an alarm or other professionally maintained security system installed.
- Time your lights. Set your lights to come on a various intervals when you are away to make your home appears occupied.
- Cancel any unnecessary deliveries. Make sure milk or newspapers won't be delivered when you are away. You should also ask a neighbour or someone you trust to open and close curtains and collect mail for you until you return.
- Don't leave keys in obvious places. Thieves may watch your property before breaking in and if they can see that you hide your keys under a door mat, this will give them an easy way in. Also beware of 'hook and crook' thieves who will hook your keys through a letterbox if they are left close enough to your door.
- Install security lighting. Not only will this make your property safe for your visitors it will also put off any potential thieves - they are less likely to hang around your property if they are in full view of others.
- Julie Fisher, head of home insurance at moneysupermarket.com adds: "You never know when an opportunistic thief may strike, so it's crucial to ensure your home contents insurance is fully up to date, and is at a high enough level to cover all your belongings sufficiently."
The 20 UK postcode districts most likely to claim for theft on their home insurance:
- 1. Stoke Newington, London, N16
- 2. Apperley Bridge, Bradford, BD10
- 3. West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71
- 4. Wood Green, London, N22
- 5. Bramley, Rodley, Swinnow, Leeds, LS13
- 6. Austhorpe, Barwick-in-Elmet, Colton, Cross Gates, Halton, Halton Moor, Scholes, Whitkirk, Leeds, LS15
- 7. Saltaire, Shipley, Windhill, Wrose, Bradford, BD18
- 8. Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Little London, Meanwood, Potternewton, Sheepscar, Leeds, LS7
- 9. Intake, Wheatley, Wheatley Hills, Doncaster, DN2
- 10. Streatham, London, SW16
- 11. Fearnville, Gipton, Gledhow, Harehills, Moortown, Oakwood, Roundhay, Leeds, LS8
- 12.West Drayton, Harmondsworth, Sipson, Yiewsley, Longford, Greater London, UB7
- 13. Woodford Green, London, IG8
- 14. Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5
- 15. Sutton Trinity, Falcon Lodge, Rectory, Birmingham, B75
- 16. Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35
- 17. Handsworth, Richmond, Woodhouse, Sheffield, S13
- 18. Eccleshill, Fagley, Wrose, Bradford, BD2
- 19. Armley, Farnley, New Farnley, Wortley, Leeds, LS12
- 20. Mill Hill, London, NW7