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UK burglary rates falling

The level of property crime in the UK has fallen by half since it peaked in the mid-1990s, but the belongings stolen today are more valuable.

There has been a significant drop in the level of burglaries according to new research released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of recorded domestic burglaries in England and Wales reached a high of just over 1.7 million in 1993.

Since then it has consistently and dramatically fallen, with a figure of 649,000 recorded for 2012-13.

Around two in 100 households were victims of burglary last year compared with around six in 100 households in 1995, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has revealed.

Homes are therefore now around a third as likely to be a victim of burglary.

Higher value items being stolen

Despite there being less thefts from homes, it appears burglars are getting away with more valuable property.

Research from home insurance provider Zurich shows there has been an increase in the number of high-value gadgets stolen from properties.

This has contributed to a rise of more than 40 per cent in the average cost of thefts over the last three years.

Laptop theft has big impact

As part of the new survey Brits said losing their laptops would have the biggest impact on their lives (40 per cent).

This is followed by mobile phones (32 per cent) and televisions (20 per cent).

Phil Ost, home insurance expert at Zurich, said: "Returning home to find you’ve been burgled can be deeply traumatic.

"It’s the increase in easily portable modern technology which appears to be pushing up the cost of theft from homes.

"Now, it’s easier to pinch a number of high-value mobile items such as laptops, iPads and e-book readers which can fit easily into a rucksack."

People renting properties are more at risk

The CSEW study also showed around 6 per cent of people renting a property are likely to be victims of burglary

This is compared to only 1.6 per cent of people who own their home.

However, there were substantially higher rates in 1995, when 16.5 per cent of tenants and 5.3 per cent of homeowners were victims.

The study also revealed detached houses were less likely to be burgled than terraced or semi-detached houses.

Protecting your home

One of the factors associated with being a victim of burglary is the level of home security.

The CSEW study says wider use of more and better security has in part contributed to the drop in burglaries.

The report adds some 88 per cent of households had locks on their windows and 83 per cent had double locks or deadlocks on at least some of their outside doors.

"Analysis shows that, the presence of multiple security devices was associated with significantly lower risk of being a victim of burglary," the ONS study said.

Impact of burglary

The research showed that victims of burglary were more likely to have suffered psychologically compared with victims of other property crimes.

The CSEW report states: "Some 27 per cent of victims said they were very emotionally affected by burglaries, which could reflect the invasion of personal space.

"In contrast, only 7 per cent of victims of theft outside a home said that they had been very emotionally affected by the incident."

Head of home insurance at Confused.com, Gareth Lane, said: "It’s great to see that burglaries have declined significantly.

"However, we must remain vigilant and continue to protect our property at all times. 

"Burglary is an opportunistic crime and by ensuring your home is adequately protected will vastly reduce the chances you’ll become a victim of such crimes."

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Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus is a reporter at Confused.com. He started out writing for newspapers in Monmouthshire and Newport before moving to Italy to teach English. After four years in Sardinia he joined the team at Confused.com.

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