Our team at NimbleFins has analysed the latest crime and burglary statistics from the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales to learn more about the who, what, where, when and how of residential break ins. Use this knowledge to help protect you and your home, and find out the odds of getting burgled in your area.
- Gaining Entry
- The Damage Caused
- The Goods Stolen
- The Victims
- The Burglars
- Odds of Being Burgled in Your Area
When do burglaries occur most frequently?
While many people associate break ins with darkness, and this is largely the case, more than a third of residential burglaries actually occur during daylight hours. For the year ending March 2020, 38.1% of domestic burglary incidents occurred in daylight and 58.3% in the dark.
|When do burglaries occur?|
Not surprisingly, nighttime (i.e., midnight to 6 am) is a very popular time of day with burglars, accounting for 25.8% of residential burglaries. Interestingly, late evening (10 pm to midnight) is also quite a dangerous time with 13.4% of a day's burglaries occurring during this short two-hour window. Morning is the safest time of day with only 8.0% of break ins occurring during this long six-hour window.
Where do burglars gain entry?
You may think the front of your house is safer because it's visible to passersby, but more than half of burglars gain entry via the front—58.7% to be exact. A third of burgled homes are entered via the back of the house, and just 7% (1 in 15) via the side.
|Where do burlars gain entry to homes?|
How do burglars gain entry?
Doors are far more vulnerable to burglars than windows, with more than three quarters of burglaries occurring through doors. In one third of incidents the lock is forced, and 1 in 7 burglars walk right in through an unlocked door!
In contrast 1 in 5 burglars enter via a window, but only 6.3% of burglars smash the glass in order to enter.
Consequences of the Break In
What happens after a burglar has gained entry? How much does it cost to repair the damage they've caused to doors and windows? What items are most frequently stolen and how much do they take? Let's look at what burglars steal, the value of these goods—and the effect on victims.
What damage is typically caused by burglars entering homes—and how much does it cost to repair?
It's expensive to replace locks and repair damage to windows and doors (e.g., from crowbars). In fact, the average cost to fix damage caused by a burglar trying to enter a home is £846—however, burglars managing to gain entry cause even more damage (an average of £1,413) while those who attempt entry but fail tend to cause less damage (£175).
|How Much Does Burglary Damage Cost to Repair?||Attempted Burglary||Entry Gained||All Incidents|
In a small number of incidents, victims report a high repair cost; in contrast, in the majority of incidents (59%) the victim reported no cost of damage. As a result, the mean damage cost is a lot higher than the median damage cost.
As you can see below, most burglaries result in no damage, which can occur if a burglar enters an unlocked door, for instance. One in ten burglaries (attempted and successful) have a repair cost of £100 to £249. And in 1 in 50 successful burglaries the cost to fix damaged doors and windows is more than £5,000.
What items do burglars steal most often?
The most common items stolen during home burglaries relate to money—purses, wallets, cash and/or credit cards are nicked in 40.2% of residential burglaries. Jewellery and/or watches are taken in 1 out of 3 incidents. And computers are stolen in 1 out of 4 home burglaries. Car keys are each taken in around 1 out of 10 burglaries—as are clothes and food/toiletries/cigarettes!
|Most Commonly Stolen Items in Residential Burglaries|
|Children's toys/baby items||0.5%|
|Other stolen items||3.0%|
What's the value of good stolen in home burglaries?
In half of residential burglaries where entry was gained, the amount taken from the home is over £600 (and in half of incidents the thieves take less than £600)—the 'median' value of goods stolen is £600.
However, some burglars take goods worth a LOT more. As you can see below, the 'average' amount taken is significantly higher—£2,856. The average being a lot higher means there are some outlier data points to the high side—in other words, there are a small number of incidents where burglars take goods with a much higher value.
As you can see below, in 44% of home burglaries the amount taken is greater than £1,000. And in nearly 1 in 5 incidents where entry was gained to a non-connected building (e.g., shed, garage, etc.) at least £1,000 worth of goods is taken.
|Cost of items stolen||From Homes||From Outbuildings|
|£1 to £19||5.2%||7.4%|
|£20 to £49||5.6%||7.9%|
|£50 to £99||8.3%||12.3%|
|£100 to £199||10.8%||21.9%|
|£200 to £499||15.7%||22.0%|
|£500 to £999||10.4%||9.2%|
|£1000 or more||44.0%||19.3%|
|Mean cost (average)||£2,856||£644|
|Median cost (middle point)||£600||£200|
Effects of Burglary on Victims
In 83.5% of all incidents (attempted and where entry was gained), victims reported feeling emotionally affected. The range of emotions experienced after a break in is wide, from anger to fear to depression. More than half of victims report feeling anger, annoyance and shock. Around one in three report having difficulty sleeping afterwards, as well as experiencing anxiety or panic attacks.
|How do Burglary Victims Feel Afterwards?|
|Loss of confidence or feeling vulnerable||35%|
|Anxiety or panic attacks||29%|
Odds are someone is at home during a burglary, and threatened
Someone is home in 64.1% of residential burglary incidents (both attempted and successful entry). According to the latest Crime Survey, if someone was at home during a burglary or attempted burglary, then 43% of the time they were completely unaware of what's happening. One in ten times they were alerted to what is happening, but didn't see the offender. And 46% of the time they were aware and saw the burglar(s).
Of those who were at home, aware and saw the offender(s), half were subjected to the threat or use of force or violence. Specifically, 48% reported being threatened and 27% reported that force or violence was actually used. That means if you encounter a burglar, there's more than a 1 in 4 chance you'll be the victim of force or violence.
Who is most likely to burgle your home?
Will you be burgled by one offender, or a whole crew? Will you know any of the offenders? Let's look at the stats.
In the vast majority of cases, burglars work alone. In 2020, 70.1% of burglary incidents were perpetrated by a solo offender. In 18% of incidents there were two burglars working together. In 11.9% of incidents there was a team of 3 or more.
Burglars often know their victims. One in four burglary incidents are perpetrated by someone the victim knows well; in one in five cases they are known by sight or to speak to. The burglars are complete strangers in just over half of incidents (57%).
Odds of Being Burgled in Your Area
According to data from the 2020 ONS Crime Survey, 1 in 100 homes in the UK are burgled each year (this includes all burglary incidents, including attempted burglaries). But the rate varies a lot depending on where you live. Greater Manchester is the worst hit, with 15.9 in every 1,000 homes facing a burglary incident each year. The capital is not far behind; the Metropolitan Police reported a rate of 14.8 burglary incidents per 1,000 households in London.
The lowest-crime region was the South West, with just 5.7 burglary incidents per 1,000 households—in this region Devon and Cornwall really stand out with a rate of just 2.8 incidents per 1,000 households.
There has been one benefit of the coronavirus pandemic—a reduction in burglaries. In fact, there was a 35% drop in burglaries in Q2 2020 (where Q2 is April through June) compared to the same time period the previous year (Q2 2019).
If you're curious about the actual burglary figures, see the table below.
|Number of Burglaries in England and Wales||All Burglary||Burglary (residential)||Burglary (business and community)|
|Jul '18 to Sept '18||103,304||71,032||32,272|
|Oct '18 to Dec '18||112,956||81,162||31,794|
|Jan '19 to Mar '19||104,731||73,728||31,003|
|Apr '19 to Jun '19||95,355||65,310||30,045|
|Jul '19 to Sep '19||95,259||66,318||28,941|
|Oct '19 to Dec '19||99,278||71,256||28,022|
|Jan '19 to Mar '20||93,560||65,917||27,643|
|Apr '20 to Jun '20||61,174||43,389||17,785|
Are you one of the millions of Brits with no contents insurance to cover the cost of items stolen from the home? If you're in the market for home insurance, you may want to take a look at our article on cheap home insurance.
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, which is well worth the cost if you're burgled—and the peace of mind even if you're not. You can find more information on home insurance costs here.
In addition to securing contents insurance, you can also follow these quick tips to Keep Your Home Safe from Burglars Over the Holidays.
To arrive at the figures and conclusions made in this study, we analysed data from the annual Crime Survey for England and Wales, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This study was completed in November 2020 using that latest-available data through March 2020.
Note, burglary classifications in the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) were amended in April 2017; categories for 'domestic burglary' and 'non-domestic burglary' are no longer used and have been replaced by 'burglary - residential' and 'burglary - business and community', respectively.
Supporting Data for the Rate of Burglaries by Area
|What are the odds of your house being burgled?||Number of Residential Burglaries||Number of Households||Rate per 1,000 Households|
|ENGLAND AND WALES||246,880||24,750,300||10.0|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||30,790||2,320,100||13.3|
|London, City of||16||4,300||3.7|
|Avon and Somerset||5,698||730,600||7.8|
|Devon and Cornwall||2,128||771,200||2.8|