There were 191,094 residential burglaries in England and Wales last year, up 1.8% from 2021. That’s equal to almost 524 burglaries every day.
With so many homes being targeted, our experts at ADT wanted to reveal the most vulnerable areas in the nation, as well as the most commonly stolen items during home break-ins. We’ve also included our top tips on how to protect your property from unwanted intruders.
Middlesbrough homeowners are 11 times more at risk of burglary than residents of the safest areas on our list, which include North Norfolk and Staffordshire Moorlands. In London, Southwark residents are more than twice as at risk compared to those living in Bexley. Criminals are more likely to steal your money, jewellery and watches than any other item in your home, favoured for their ease of concealment and lack of traceability.
The most-stolen items in a home burglary
With summer fast approaching and many of us spending more time away from our homes in favour of days out and holidays, we wanted to find out which items you should avoid leaving on display while you’re out.
You should be cautious of leaving the following items in easily accessible locations. You might want to consider securing these belongings in a home safe or other protected spot to avoid enticing criminals.
1. Purse/wallet/money/cards | Percentage of incidents where items were stolen: 40%
Intruders are most likely to steal money, including cash, cards, wallets, and purses from your home. These items were reported stolen in two in every five home break-ins in England and Wales.
A burglar’s motivation is usually to steal as much as possible while remaining untraceable. For this reason, many intruders look for cash stashed throughout your home which cannot be traced once they leave. Some even search where you would least expect, including under mattresses and in drawers.
2. Jewellery/watches | Percentage of incidents where items were stolen: 32%
After cash, jewellery and watches are among the most-targeted items by home intruders. Just like cash, these items are untraceable and easy to conceal, making them prime targets for criminals.
Almost one in every three home break-ins in England and Wales reported jewellery or watch theft.
3. Computer/computer equipment | Percentage of incidents where items were stolen: 23%
It’s no surprise that burglars are after your computer equipment, with many devices worth over £1,000. Laptops and tablets are especially easy for thieves to carry and conceal after entering your home.
Computers and computer equipment were reported stolen in almost a quarter of home burglaries.
The areas most at risk of burglary in England and Wales
1. Middlesbrough | 22 burglaries per 1,000 households
Middlesbrough is the area most vulnerable to burglary in England and Wales. The North Yorkshire town served by Cleveland Police reported 22 residential burglaries for every 1,000 households last year. Those living in Middlesbrough are 11 times more at risk of burglary than residents of the least targeted areas on our list. The northern town has the highest burglary rate of all local authorities.
2. Manchester | 20 burglaries per 1,000 households
Manchester is one of the most targeted areas of England and Wales for home invasions. The city experienced 20 burglaries for every 1,000 households last year. Despite Manchester’s reputation for being safer than other large cities like London, it has a higher residential burglary rate than all of the London boroughs.
3. Doncaster | 18 burglaries per 1,000 households
Doncaster is the third northern local authority in our top three, and one of the most at risk areas of England and Wales. Residents of the South Yorkshire city experienced 18 burglaries for every 1,000 households in 2022.
The areas least at risk of burglary in England and Wales
1. Breckland, Broadland, Isle of Anglesey, Isle of Wight, Lewes, Mid Sussex, North Norfolk, Staffordshire Moorlands, Wealden | 2 burglaries per 1,000 households
These areas in England and Wales, experience the lowest burglary rates out of all local authorities. There were just two incidents of home break-ins per 1,000 households in Breckland, Broadland, the Isle of Anglesey, the Isle of Wight, Lewes, Mid Sussex, North Norfolk, Staffordshire Moorlands, and Wealden during 2022.
The London boroughs most at risk of burglary
1. Southwark | 14 burglaries per 1,000 households
The home of Borough Market, the Tate Modern, and Tower Bridge, Southwark is a desirable borough for commuters and those who like living close to the centre of London. Despite its popularity, Southwark is the most at risk London borough for residential burglaries. Last year, 14 out of every 1,000 homes were broken into.
2. Barnet | 13 burglaries per 1,000 households
Barnet comes in joint second place as one of London’s most vulnerable areas for burglary. Despite its reputation as a family-friendly suburb, there were 13 home burglaries for every 1,000 properties last year in Barnet.
2. Hackney | 13 burglaries per 1,000 households
Hackney is probably best known for its vibrant nightlife and cultural diversity, making it one of the most popular London boroughs for young people. Despite its popularity, Hackney remains one of London’s most targeted areas, with 13 home burglaries per 1,000 households last year.
2. Haringey | 13 burglaries per 1,000 households
Haringey is home to lush green spaces, making it a coveted suburb for families and those settling down. However, contrary to its positive reputation, Haringey is one of London’s most vulnerable areas to live for burglary. In the last year, there were 13 residential burglaries for every 1,000 homes.
2. Kensington and Chelsea | 13 burglaries per 1,000 households
The Kensington and Chelsea borough is characterised by its wealthy residents and stunning houses, offering some of the most expensive homes in the world. The desirable area is a target for criminals, with 13 burglaries per 1,000 homes in the last year.
The London boroughs least at risk of burglary
1. Bexley | 6 burglaries per 1,000 households
Bexley attracts residents with its cheaper house prices than most central London areas and great transport links to the centre. Bexley is also the least targeted London borough, with just six home burglaries per 1,000 houses in the last year.
2. Bromley | 7 burglaries per 1,000 households
Bromley offers residents lush green spaces, lively bars and restaurants, and a 20-minute commute to London’s centre. Bromley is also one of London’s least vulnerable areas for home break-ins, with just 7 instances per 1,000 homes last year.
3. Havering | 8 burglaries per 1,000 households
London’s easternmost borough is home to a quiet, residential atmosphere and lots of green space. Havering comes in joint third place as one of London’s least at risk areas, experiencing eight burglaries for every 1,000 homes in 2022.
3. Richmond upon Thames | 8 burglaries per 1,000 households
Richmond upon Thames is characterised by its grandiose gardens, historic architecture, and picturesque riverside views. The sought-after borough is one of London’s least targeted, with eight residential burglaries per 1,000 households last year.
How to prevent being burgled
1. Install a smart home security system
Smart home security systems like the ADT Smart Home package are worlds apart from the traditional systems of the past. All ADT home security systems are professionally designed and installed by a trained engineer for maximum coverage and effectiveness. With ADT home security, your property is monitored 24/7/365 by the UK based alarm receiving centre, meaning your alarm is never ignored. ADT systems offer Police Response, meaning when an intruder alarm is triggered or personal attack button is activated, the police will be contacted immediately.
With 149 years of home security expertise and an all-inclusive maintenance service covering accidental damage, vandalism or faults and all labour and replacement parts included in your subscription, you can be assured your home is protected from burglars. In addition to 24/7/365 professional monitoring, ADT security systems give you the ability to watch your home day and night, while you’re in or out of the house, and receive instant notifications to your mobile device, making ADT Smart Home security systems more accessible and convenient than ever.
2. Lock your doors and windows
Thieves use the door to break into a victim’s home in over three-quarters of burglary cases. In almost a quarter of those cases, the door of the victim’s property was left unlocked.¹ You should make sure no doors or windows are left unlocked at your home, especially overnight or while you are out of the house. It’s also important to hide your keys out of sight so you don’t become a victim of key fishing, where criminals steal your keys through your letterbox. Never leave your keys in the door lock, on windowsills or in plain sight.
3. Leave the lights on
Turn lights on around your home while you’re out to give the appearance of occupancy. Integrating smart plugs into your ADT Smart Home security system can be one of the best ways to deter criminals. If movement is detected by your outdoor security cameras or video doorbell, your smart plugs can turn lamps on automatically to give burglars the impression that your property is occupied. You can also use smart plugs as traditional timer switches, stagger the time that they switch on/off, use them to save energy around the home or as safest mechanism to check high risk items such as hair straighteners and irons are turned off from your ADT Smart Services app.
4. Keep your items safe
If you own high-value items like jewellery, watches and electrical equipment or have ID documents in easy reach, storing them in a home safe can keep them away from thieves. This should be kept in a room other than the bedroom since this is where most criminals search for valuable items and should be bolted to the floor or a wall. Keeping your valuables in a safe at home allows for easy access to your items while protecting them from intruders.
5. Secure your garden
Using tall fencing around the sides and rear of your home can deter criminals. The difficulty of climbing high fences can put off potential intruders. You could also use anti-climb plastic fence spikes or grow thorny plants on a trellis to further deter burglars. It is equally effective to use lower fences at the front of your property, alongside outdoor lighting, so burglars have nowhere to hide.