The 2023 Burglary Report
Research suggests that a burglary occurs just over every two minutes in England and Wales, with 191,490 residential home break-ins in England and Wales for the year ending March 2023.¹
With winter fast approaching, bringing shorter days, we wanted to find out how you can best protect your home from burglars, from installing smart plugs linked to home security systems to locking away your valuables.
Below, we reveal the most burgled areas of England and Wales between March 2022 and 2023 - based on the number of home break-ins per 1,000 households - and the risk factors that make you more vulnerable to falling victim to this type of crime.
The best way to protect yourself from a residential break-in is by having a monitored home security system or a standalone CCTV system. It’s always best to look for an NSI-approved company like ADT.
Changes from last year
In 2022, we revealed the most and least affected areas of England and Wales for residential burglary.
The most targeted area in 2022 was Greater Manchester, with 14.9 burglaries for every 1,000 homes. This year, Greater Manchester ranks in fourth place, and it’s clear that the burglary rate has decreased to 13.6.
This year, Cleveland tops the list as the most targeted area, with 16.6 residential home invasions per 1,000 households. This is up from 12.5 burglaries per 1,000 homes in 2022.
South Yorkshire and the West Midlands maintain their place from last year as England and Wales’ second and third most targeted areas.
The most burgled areas in England and Wales
1. Cleveland: 16.6 burglaries per 1,000 households
If you live in the Cleveland area, you could be more at risk of being burgled than in any other area of England or Wales. The area covered by Cleveland Police includes Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, and Redcar and Cleveland experienced 16.6 home break-ins per 1,000 households in the year ending March 2023. Since last year, burglaries in the area have increased by almost a third (32.8%)
Cleveland Police stresses the importance of window security, with windows often providing easier access to homes than doors. You can improve the security of windows simply by locking them and adding devices such as ADT shock sensors which will trigger the alarm when glass is broken, or contacts where the alarm will be activated when the contact is broken, i.e. through opening the window.
2. South Yorkshire: 14.1 burglaries per 1,000 households
Residents of South Yorkshire were amongst the most targeted by burglars in England and Wales. Looking at crime statistics for England and Wales, there were 14.1 burglaries per 1,000 households in South Yorkshire in the last 12 months. This rate is up from 13.3 burglaries per 1,000 homes for the year ending March 2022. Since last year, burglaries have increased by around 6%.
South Yorkshire Police, which protects residents in Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, and surrounding areas, recommends installing a visual burglar alarm. A monitored home security system from ADT will not only ensure action is taken in the event of a break-in, but the presence of the recognisable, yellow ADT bell box on your property will deter opportunistic thieves.
3. West Midlands: 13.8 burglaries per 1,000 households
Those living in the West Midlands were at a higher risk of experiencing a home invasion than residents of other areas across England and Wales. Those living in Birmingham, Coventry, and surrounding areas experienced 13.8 burglaries per 1,000 homes in the last 12 months. Since last year, burglaries in the West Midlands have increased by 4.5%.
West Midlands Police has advised residents to be aware of shorter days and longer nights as winter approaches, as these circumstances can provide cover for potential burglars. Residents have been encouraged to know about letterbox fishing and to keep all keys secure and out of reach.
The least burgled areas in England and Wales
1. Devon and Cornwall: 2.3 burglaries per 1,000 households
Devon and Cornwall experienced the fewest burglaries per 1,000 homes out of all areas in England and Wales for the second year. In the last 12 months, there were just 2.3 residential burglaries per 1,000 households. Since last year, burglaries in the area have increased by 15%.
2. Norfolk: 3.2 burglaries per 1,000 households
Norfolk is one of the least targeted areas of England and Wales by home robbers, with just 3.3 burglaries per 1,000 residences in the year ending March 2023. This represents a decrease of 5.9% in the burglary rate of 2022 for areas including Norwich and King’s Lynn.
3. Suffolk: 3.7 burglaries per 1,000 households
Compared to other areas of England and Wales, Suffolk was less likely to experience a burglary. For the year ending March 2023, there were 3.7 residential household burglaries per 1,000 households in the police force area, which covers Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and surrounding areas. Burglaries in the area have decreased by 9.8% since last year.
3. North Yorkshire: 3.7 burglaries per 1,000 households
North Yorkshire is one of the least burgled areas of England and Wales. For the year ending March 2023, there were 3.7 burglaries in the police force area covering York, Selby, and Scarborough. Burglaries in North Yorkshire have decreased by 2.8% in the last year.
When do most burglaries occur?
We issued a Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office to find out the most common time burglars strike in England and Wales.
While home break-ins can occur anytime, statistics show that almost one in seven (13.3%) home invasions occurred at midnight between April 2022 and March 2023.
The next most common time to experience a home break-in is around 10 pm, when 5.5% of all recorded burglaries in England and Wales occur.
The figures show that almost two-fifths (37.5%) of burglaries across England and Wales occur during the evening, between 7 pm and midnight.
*The data provided is from 41 territorial police forces and British Transport Police in England & Wales, except for the following forces where case-level data was not supplied to the Home Office in the period requested: Staffordshire, West Midlands, and Humberside.
We also calculated the most common time to experience a burglary in each police force area.
1. 00:00 - 34 police forces
For 34 police forces, midnight is the most common recorded time to experience a home invasion. Despite having one of the lowest burglary rates, residents of North Yorkshire experienced the highest proportion of midnight burglaries at 34.10%, with Northumbria following closely behind at 33.88%.
2. 18:00 - 1 police force
For those living in the Hertfordshire police force area, 6 pm is the most common time to experience a burglary. Around 6.83% of all break-ins during 2022/23 occurred at 18:00, although for 15.20% of burglaries, the time of the incident was unrecorded.
2. 22:00 - 1 police force
In Dorset, 6.33% of all burglaries during 2022/23 occurred around 10 pm, making this the most common time to experience a burglary.
2. 12:00 - 1 police force
In the South Wales police force area, the most common time to be burgled is at midday. Around 6.2% of burglaries occurred at noon during the 2022/23 financial year.
*This provides only a partial picture of burglary during the 2022/23 year because the data does not cover forces which did not supply data. In addition, for those forces that provided time-of-day data, this has been recorded as unknown in many cases.
Are you likely to be burgled by someone you know?
We issued a Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office to reveal the likelihood of being burgled by someone you know.
From the information, we found out that most (97.1%) burglaries are committed by someone unknown to the victim or someone other than an intimate partner or relative.
Around 2% of home break-ins are committed by an intimate partner, while a relative perpetrates 0.9%.
We also calculated the police force areas where you are most likely to be burgled by someone you know.
1. Nottinghamshire - 16.5% of burglaries are perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member
Those living in Nottinghamshire were the most at risk of being targeted by someone they know. While 83.5% of those who experienced a residential burglary during 2022/23 were robbed by someone unknown, almost one in six were victimised by an intimate partner or family member.
2. Merseyside - 13.5% of burglaries are perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member
Residents of the Merseyside police force area were more vulnerable to being burgled by someone they know. Around 86.5% of residential home break-ins were committed by a stranger, although almost one in seven were perpetrated by a family member or intimate partner.
2. Durham - 13.5% of burglaries are perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member
The Durham police force area recorded that while 86.5% of residential burglaries during 2022/23 were committed by strangers, just under one in seven break-ins were perpetrated by an intimate partner or family member of the victim.
*This provides only a partial picture of burglary during the 2022/23 year because the data does not cover forces which did not supply data. In addition, for those forces that provided victim/suspect relationship data, this has been recorded as unknown in many cases.
How to protect your home from burglary
1. Install a smart home security system
Monitored smart home security systems are one of the best ways to protect your home. These systems can include a range of sensors and camera devices designed to protect you, your loved ones and your property. Monitored home security systems, like ADT Smart Home, also ensure that when you’re away, a dedicated alarm receiving centre is on hand 24/7 to monitor your alarm and take action, such as notifying you, your keyholders and the police* in the event of an alarm activation, giving you peace of mind.
2. Install two locks
You should always ensure your locks are working correctly, but with burglars employing new methods, including burning locks, it is essential to have two locks or a multi-point locking system on your doors. If a robber breaks your lock, the second lock provides additional protection. Ensure the locks you choose are high quality with a strong cylinder, like a diamond cylinder.
3. Install a video doorbell and cameras
Installing a video doorbell and cameras is one of the best defences against opportunistic burglary. With 24/7 motion detection and automatic recording, video doorbells and cameras can deter criminals while providing video evidence of any attempted home break-in. Most video doorbells, like the ADT Wireless Video Doorbell, send notifications to your smartphone so you can monitor your home even when you’re away. ADT’s outdoor camera also comes complete with Perimeter Guard emitting a deterrent noise when motion is detected.
4. Lock away valuables
Most burglars target small valuables that are left in plain sight and difficult to trace. You should always hide items like your purse, wallet, and jewellery at night and when you leave your house. The best way to secure your valuables is to lock them in a safe that is bolted down and cannot be removed from your home. Without a safe, it is best to disperse your high-value items around the house rather than pool them all together for an easy grab.
5. Take care when posting online
Whilst strangers commit most burglaries, you may be targeted by someone you know, as shown above. Posting your holiday dates whilst you are at the airport or on holiday as well as your current whereabouts on social media, can let people know you are out of your home and potentially away for a long period of time, which is the ideal time for burglars to strike. You should be careful when sharing your location on social media to avoid being an easy target, and always ensure that you have your privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook set to private.
We sourced the number of residential (household) burglaries per 1,000 households for the year ending March 2023 from the Police Force Area data tables for England and Wales.
We issued a Freedom of Information Act request to the Home Office to source data on the hour of day and the burglar's relationship to the victim. We obtained data for the 2022/23 financial year. The data represents burglaries committed in 41 territorial police forces and the British Transport Police in England & Wales, excluding Staffordshire, West Midlands, and Humberside, who did not provide information for the requested financial year. This provides only a partial picture of burglary during the 2022/23 year because the data does not cover all forces. In addition, for those forces that supply victim/suspect relationship data and time-of-day data, this has been recorded as unknown in many cases.
¹Data is sourced from the Office for National Statistics - Crime in England and Wales: Police Force Area data tables (Year ending March 2023), looking at residential burglary.