Every November, December and January, residential burglary rates soar compared to the rest of the year. In London the burglary rate rises 26% on average during the festive season. Not only do the long, dark nights provide cover for would-be burglars, but homes are overflowing with enticing piles of brand-new consumer goods, from electronics to toys to jewellery—at this time of year most UK households are ramping up for the holidays, filling their homes with precious gifts for their loved ones.
Burglary Rates Increase over the Holidays
But how much more likely are London households to be burgled over the holidays than the rest of the year? And which London boroughs have the best and worst burglary rates over Christmas?
To assess this, we gathered data from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Data Dashboard for residential burglaries throughout London between April 2010 until September 2020 by borough. See the Methodology section below for a detailed description of how we generated our results.
Where Burglary Rates Increase the Most Over the Holidays
The boroughs of Redbridge, Bexley and Harrow experience the largest percentage increase is residential burglaries around Christmas, with crime rates popping up 58%, 55% and 48%, respectively, compared to average rates in February through October. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the residential burglary rates in Lambeth and Hackney only inch up 4% and 6%, respectively, between November and January.
Here's how much burglary rates surge in November, December and January, by London borough
London Boroughs Ranked by Lowest to Highest Surge in Burglary Rates at Christmas
|Rank (1 = Smallest Xmas Burglary Rate Rise, 32 = Largest)||Borough||Avg Monthly Burglary Rate: Feb - Oct (Burglaries/10,000 Residents)||Avg Monthly Burglary Rate: Nov - Jan (Burglaries/10,000 Residents)||Xmas Rate Surge|
|4||Kensington and Chelsea||5.68||6.12||8%|
|5||Hammersmith and Fulham||5.62||6.13||9%|
|17||Richmond upon Thames||4.21||5.33||26%|
|22||Barking and Dagenham||5.20||6.79||30%|
|28||Kingston upon Thames||3.26||4.51||38%|
Which London Boroughs Have the Highest and Lowest Burglary Rates around Christmas?
Instead of looking at where burglary rates rise dramatically around Christmas, we can also compare the actual, underlying burglary rates by borough. The results show that the boroughs of Sutton, Kingston upon Thames and Bexley have the lowest burglary rates in London over the November through January time period, with fewer than 4 homes burgled per 10,000 people a month.
It is interesting that while Bexley exhibits one of the lowest actual Christmas burglary rates at 4.83 burglaries a month/10,000 residents, it experiences one of the largest percentage increases, or surges, in burglaries at Christmas with a 55% rise. This is because Bexley normally has lowest rate the rest of the year with a rate of just 3.12 burglaries a month/10,000 residents during the other 9 months of the year.
Residents of Redbridge and Haringey suffer the worst winter burglary rates, with more than 8 burglaries a month per 10,000 residents.
See the table below to find where your borough ranks.
London Boroughs Ranked by Best to Worst Christmas Burglary Rates
|Rank (1 = Lowest Xmas burglary Rate, 32 = Highest)||Borough||Nov - Jan Burglary Rate (Average Monthly Burglaries per 10,000 Residents)|
|2||Kingston upon Thames||4.51|
|7||Richmond upon Thames||5.33|
|17||Kensington and Chelsea||6.12|
|18||Hammersmith and Fulham||6.13|
|24||Barking and Dagenham||6.79|
As we enter the Christmas period, now may be the time for the millions of Brits with no contents insurance to buy a policy, which would cover the cost of theft from the home. The cost of contents insurance for London renters from some big-name companies starts from around £70 a year.
The average amount stolen in a successful burglary where the offender gains entry is £2,856, making contents insurance well worth the cost if you're a burglary victim—and peace of mind if you're not.
However you may pay more that this depending on factors like where you live and the value of your belongings—according to the Association of British Insurer's, the average annual premium paid for contents insurance stands at around £127 a year or £2.40 a week. And given the damage caused by burglars to homes, landlords should be sure they have landlord insurance in place as well.
In addition to securing contents insurance, you can also follow these quick tips to Keep Your Home Safe from Burglars Over the Holidays. If you're in the market for home insurance, you may want to take a look at our article on cheap home insurance or you can find more information on home insurance costs here.
We analysed the most recent data (April 2010 to September 2020) from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Data Dashboard, on residential burglaries for all London boroughs.
To illustrate how the rate of home burglaries increases around the holidays, we first calculated average monthly burglary rates for each borough, taking into account data over the 2010 to 2020 time period. Since we noticed a surge in burglaries in November, December and January, we then found the average burglary rate over this sensitive 3-month period, calculating how much higher (in % terms) the average "Christmas" rate is to the average rate for months February through October. This percentage showed up the surge in burglaries around the holidays compared to the rest of the year.
Finally, we ranked the boroughs according to their burglary rate per 10,000 people over the November to January time period, to see which boroughs have the lowest and highest likelihood of home burglaries.