Households in Dagenham and Becontree on the fringes of east London make more claims for burglaries than anywhere else in Britain, according to an analysis of 2.7m insurance quotes by comparison site Moneysupermarket.com.
It said 55 in every 1,000 households in the RM8 postcode, just north of the Ford engine plant on the Thames, have made a claim for burglary in the last two years. Nearby Gants Hill and Newbury Park in Ilford come in as second worst in the country, with a rate of 54.9 per 1,000, while other postcodes in the London area make up 14 of the 20 worst house-breaking hotspots in Britain.
The researchers also found parts of the UK where burglary is virtually unheard of. Although the data is only based on the 2.7m people who have researched insurance through Moneysupermarket, the website said not a single household in five postcodes had made a claim over the last two years. These were the areas around Dundee, Dumfries and Bute in Scotland, Bangor in Wales and Felixstowe in Suffolk.
While the data identifies east London and Essex as worst for burglary, and rural areas reporting many fewer thefts, the national picture is far from being a simple rich/poor, urban/country divide. Hadley Wood in north London and Chiswick in west London, both relatively wealthy areas, appear among the most burglary-ridden parts of Britain, while parts of Glasgow and Derry are named as almost burglary-free.
Crime statistics for 2014 show that burglary fell 8% nationally last year. The Office for National Statistics said that in England and Wales there were 560,000 domestic burglaries from October 2013 to September 2014, with break-ins on an almost continuous decline since the mid-1990s.
Kevin Pratt, home insurance expert at Moneysupermarket, said:
“Our annual burglary claims tracker reveals the nation’s burglary claim hotspots, and once again London and Greater London postcodes dominate.
“Burglars often target urban areas where there’s more hustle and bustle and so less risk of being caught, but not surprisingly they also follow the money, which is why affluent areas appear in the top-20 claims hotspots.”
Manchester’s M21 postcode, which includes Chorlton-cum-Hardy, on the outskirts of the city, slipped from top spot last year to third in this year’s table. Postcodes in Yorkshire and London dominate the rest of the hotspots, with 20% of the “claims clusters” located in West Yorkshire.
Although burglary is in decline, the website said victims suffered lasting emotional effects. Of those that have been burgled, almost half (44 %) were scared they might be burgled again, and one in eight (12%) said they had never managed to get over the incident.
For those whose homes were burgled, a quarter are still struggling financially to replace stolen items (24%), and 23% said their family or children are still scared.