New data has revealed which cities are most at risk of being targeted by thieves during the summer holidays, based on how crime rates change throughout July and August.
The findings come from A-Plan Insurance, which looked at how burglary crime rates change now compared to the first half of the year – with the data showing that over half (62%) of cities analysed report a significant rise in break-ins over the summer holidays.
Homes are often burglarised during the summer due to increased opportunity, as families travel abroad or head off on a staycation, leaving their possessions vulnerable to theft.
The city that sees the biggest increase in burglaries after schools break up yearly is Coventry – with residential property break-ins seeing a massive 34% increase over summer.
Despite Warwickshire reporting the lowest rate of annual residential burglaries of anywhere in the West Midlands, Coventry has become a hotspot for thieves looking to take advantage of the homes left vacant as homeowners head off on their summer getaways.
Even for those who don’t plan to go away this year, warmer weather can pose an increased risk of theft, as homeowners open their windows and doors – and often forget to close them.
According to the Home Office police data, the number of burglaries in Coventry rose from 136 in June to an average of 182 each month throughout July, August, and early September. In Peterborough, burglary crime rates also rise by over a quarter (27%) during the summer.
Some areas in the city should be more vigilant than others, data shows, as the majority of theft-related offences have taken place on or near Kensington Road in the last three years.
On a nationwide scale, other at-risk areas include the City of London (burglaries up 26% in summer), Wakefield (up 24%), and Cambridge (21% rise).
Some cities, however, see a drop in crime during the summer break, with Lancaster reporting 38% fewer burglaries compared to the first half of the year, Cornwall reporting a 22% decrease over the same period, and Stoke-on-Trent seeing break-ins drop by 20%.
It makes sense that some of the nation’s most popular holiday destinations are among the cities that see a drop in burglaries over summer – including Cornwall, Portsmouth, and Bristol – as thieves will be reluctant to intrude on holiday lets unless positive that they’re vacant.
According to the data, most burglaries occur during the week, with the front door coming out as the most common point of entry – although windows are also often used. While most doors have their locks forced open, in a fifth of cases (20%), the front door wasn’t locked.
This suggests homeowners either forget to lock their door before heading out or going to bed or are even distracted in their back garden and don’t notice an intruder slip in.
Even if you’re only heading off for a day trip, the data shows that you need to be cautious, as break-ins are almost as likely to occur during daylight as at night (42% day to 54% night). Despite common conception, dawn and dusk are the least risky times (4% likelihood).
Speaking on the findings, Catherine Grayson, Marketing Manager at A-Plan Insurance, has revealed her top tips to help burglar-proof your home this summer, as she says: “The summer months provide more opportunity for thieves to take advantage of longer days, open windows and doors, and vacant properties – so it’s not surprising some cities see a huge increase in burglaries.
“While there are plenty of ways to improve your home security – including investing in a camera or asking a family member to house sit – here are some of the most common mistakes homeowners make when heading away, which can make them a target for theft.”