Britain’s burglary hotspots revealed
The well-heeled residents of Dulwich Village, a wealthy enclave in south London, suffer the worst burglary rate in Britain, with homes 87 times more likely to be broken into than the country’s safest village, Harbury near Leamington Spa.
The figures come from an analysis of 2m home insurance applications by comparison site Moneysupermarket.com.
It found that 61 out of every 1,000 households in the SE21 postcode, with Dulwich Village at its heart, had made an insurance claim for theft in the past five years, compared with under one home in a thousand in the CV22 postcode area centred on Harbury in Warwickshire.
London dominates the theft claim map of Britain, although Manchester (M21), Leeds (LS5) and Milton Keynes postcodes (MK46) also feature in the top 20 worst neighbourhoods.
After Dulwich, postcodes in Ilford, east London, take the next three spots for insurance claims. Many of the other burglary hotspots are highly affluent areas, such as North Kensington in London and Hadley Wood in Hertfordshire.
Harbury in Warwickshire is named as Britain’s safest postcode for burglary, followed by Derry in Northern Ireland and the SA3 area covering much of the Gower Peninsula in south Wales.
Harbury has many things in common with Dulwich Village – a history dating back to the Domesday Book in 1086, and a school founded by the local Lord of the Manor in 1611, eight years before Dulwich’s famous college.
Both are also, in estate agency terminology, “highly sought after” with three-bedroom homes in Harbury village fetching more than £800,000, although that’s a long way behind Dulwich Village, where homes can go for £6m or more.
The SE21 postcode where burglaries are rife also covers parts of fast-gentrifying East Dulwich as well as areas of Tulse Hill. Nearby Herne Hill is also a burglary hotspot, named by Moneysupermarket as the 13th worst area in the country for break-ins.
Residents on an East Dulwich online forum share stories of a “spate of burglaries”, although the Police.uk site paints a different picture. It shows that in the crime reporting area around Dulwich Village, there were 73 crimes in November 2015, the last month for which data was available. The figure for Harbury was also 73.
Public perceptions of burglary rates can often be exaggerated. According to the Office for National Statistics, property crime has seen marked declines since peak levels in the 1990s, falling by around two-thirds. Home insurance premiums have also fallen as insurers have had to pay out less.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at Moneysupermarket, said: “Burglars have two thoughts uppermost in their minds: where am I most likely to find something worth stealing and where am I least likely to get caught?
“Our findings suggest thieves favour busy urban areas where strangers are unlikely to be spotted and it’s easy to make a quick getaway. But leafy suburbs are also heavily targeted, with burglars following the money to affluent areas.”
HOW TO KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE
Jim Maddan, chair of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network, gives homeowners concerned by the prospect of being burgled the following advice:
‘If you live in an urban area, it’s well worth exchanging a few friendly words with your neighbours, especially those who overlook your property or access points.
‘If everyone makes a small amount of effort to be aware of what’s going on around them and reports any suspicious activity, it helps keep the whole community safer. Criminals certainly don’t want to operate where they think they might be seen.’
1. Always keep doors and windows locked when your home is unoccupied, and when you’re asleep at night
2. Install timers on your lights so they come on at night and when you’re not home
3. Ensure items of value are kept away from easy view through windows and don’t leave house or car keys where they can be reached through a letterbox
4. Install and use a suitable alarm system and join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
5. Keep your cherished valuables away from home in a Safe Deposit Box. Call Securus Safe Deposit Centres now to reserve a box on 02089082200.