There's bad news for anyone living in London, Leeds and Bradford, because they dominate the list of places in the UK where you are most likely to be victim of a burglary. The Leeds postcode of LS13 has seen the most break-ins over the last 12 months, followed by BD12 in Bradford, N12 in North London and M30 which is Eccles.
But where else makes the top 10, why are these targets, and what can you do about it?
HotspotsThe figures, from Moneysupermarket.com, revealed that London is the prime spot for burglary - with eight of the top 20 postcodes based in the Capital.
The top three were LS23, made up of Bramley, Gamble Hill, Moorside, Rodley and Swinnow (which had 34.8 insurance claims per 1,000 enquiries), followed by BD12 (Low Moor, Oakenshaw and Wyke) in Bradford with 34.2 and the suburb of North Finchley (N12) in London with 31.9.
The top 10LS23, Bramley, Gamble Hill, Moorside, Rodley and Swinnow
BD12, Low Moor, Oakenshaw and Wyke in Bradford
N12, North Finchley
RM3, Harold Wood, Harold Hill, Noak Hill in Romford
SW12, Balham, Clapham South, Hyde Farm in London
LS18, Horsforth in Leeds
UB3, Hayes, Harlington in Middlesex
SE22, East Dulwich, Peckham Rye, Loughborough Junction, Herne Hill
LS28, Calverley, Farsley, Pudsey, Stanningley.
Why?So why are these areas so rife with burglary?
Hannah Jones, a home insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "While there are clearly some areas of the country with a higher proportion of insurance claims for burglary than others, this doesn't actually mean the area is "rife" with crime. Thieves often specifically target areas with wealthy residents, or quieter areas where there's not a lot of passing foot traffic, where the rewards are potentially greater and the risk of being caught in the act may be lower."
There are also more burglaries in areas with higher density - which explains why urban areas dominate the list. This is partly because there are more opportunities for theft, and people are less likely to notice something unusual is going on. Areas with a high turnover of residents are also useful for thieves hoping to blend in with everyone else, and hoping that neighbours will be less likely to keep an eye out for one another.
Urban areas are also more likely to have tougher neighbourhoods sitting cheek-by-jowl with richer areas. It means thieves can target relatively local properties that they know reasonably well for large returns.
ExpensiveAs well as facing the horrible prospect of having your home broken into, living in a high risk area can also prove expensive. Moneysupermarket.com found that it tends to increase insurance premiums by around 20% - or around £30 a year.
Jones said: "Higher value properties could expect to pay even more than this. Insurers take a blanket approach to assessing postcode districts for home insurance premiums rather than looking at insurance applications on a case by case basis. So, although you may not have been a victim of burglary directly, you could be paying more for insurance if there are higher rates of burglary claims made within your postal area."
What can you do?While these figures show the areas where the crime is more common, you can take action to help prevent your home being targeted. Halifax has issued its top tips:
- Keep valuable items out of sight
- Mark property with your postcode using an ultra violet pen
- Consider installing a safe in your home for items including credit cards, digital cameras and jewellery
- Fit visible, key operated window and door locks and keep them locked
- Pay particular attention to windows on the ground floor
- Doors that lock from the inside can be fitted with bolts for additional security
- Don't risk leaving keys outside the property as you could risk invalidating a claim
- Don't leave keys in the lock, opportunist burglars may be able to get hold of them
- Install an alarm in a prominent position and always remember to set it
- Remember an alarm won't stop a burglar getting in
- High walls, railings, and trellising on fence tops can be enough to deter thieves as they slow down a quick getaway
- Prickly hedges and thorny bushes around the property can also deter thieves and obscure their view of what's inside
- Keep bins and ladders out of sight as these can be used to gain access to the property
By letting insurers know of the security measures you have been taking, and making sure you shop around every year to get your hands on the best possible deal, you also stand a decent change of substantially lowering your premium.