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Justice system fails break-in Brits

Press release: 13/07/2011

  • Less than half of convicted burglars are given a custodial sentence
  • Over half of those let off jail-time re-offend within a year
  • One in ten burglary victims suffer a second attempted break-in
  • North London and Manchester homes see the most repeat burglaries but Liverpool reports the most burglary claims overall


Burgled Britons are living in fear of repeat break-ins, as lenient sentences fail to deter thieves striking twice.

Over 23,000 offenders were sentenced for burglary in 2010[1], according to data from an FOI request submitted by home insurerLV= Yet of these less than half (44%) were given a custodial sentence[2] and among those let off on suspended sentences over half (52%) are likely to re-offend within a year[3].

The findings come as new research shows burglary victims feel increasingly frightened by the threat of repeat offenders. One in ten (9%) of those who have been burgled in the past five years suffered a repeat attempt after the initial crime[4] and in half (49%) of these cases, victims believe the break-ins were committed by the same criminals.

As a result, many victims live in fear. More than a fifth (23%) suffer from symptoms of stress, a quarter (28%) no longer feel safe when alone in their own home and 7% of victims have even moved away to avoid risking a second or third burglary attempt.

The numbers who are eventually held to account for their actions remains small, with six in ten (60%) of those who have suffered a theft from the home reporting that the perpetrators were never caught.

Consequently Brits are increasingly calling for tougher penalties for those who are brought to justice, with research among the general population showing four in ten (40%) would like to see burglars given the maximum possible custodial sentences for their crime – which varies by category but could typically be up to 14 years for house breaking.

Yet despite their anxiety over being targeted again, the findings show burglary victims are not always following this up with robust security measures. A quarter (24%) of victims do not always lock their doors when leaving the house and only half have dead bolts on exterior doors (47%).

Last year around 700,000[5] burglaries took place across the UK, according to official figures and the average insurance claim for burglary is £2,128, according to LV= customer data. Research among burglary victims reveals that the most commonly stolen items include money and credit cards, jewellery and watches and computers – taking precedence over home entertainment items and DVDs.

LV= claims data shows that L-prefixed postcodes, which cover Liverpool and the surrounding area, have the highest number of burglary claims in the UK, closely followed by those with N-prefixes in North London. However, North London and Manchester postcodes top the league for the highest rate of repeat burglary claims, with some unlucky customers having claimed for theft five times in the past five years.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: "Burglary is still a major problem in the UK. Being burgled can be extremely traumatic, especially for those who fall victim to repeat crimes. Despite this, our research found that some home-owners often neglect to carry out basic security measures, which is leaving them vulnerable to opportunistic thieves. In light of this research, we urge all home-owners to review their home security measures to ensure they don't fall victim to this dreadful crime."



Notes

ICM interviewed a sample of 850 burglary victims online. Fieldwork took place between 22 - 29 June 2011.

LV= claims data from 1 January 2006 to 31 December 2010 shows the average claim amount for burglaries was £2,128.87.


Top ten worst postcodes for burglary claims between 1 January 2006 to 31 December:

Most burglary claims

Postcode prefix

Area covered

1

L

Liverpool

2

N

North London

3

M

Manchester

4

B

Birmingham

5

SE

South East London

6

HA

Harrow (North West London)

7

BS

Bristol

8

SW

South West London

9

NW

North West London

10

LS

Leeds


Top ten worst postcodes for repeat burglary claims between 1 January 2006 to 31 December:

Most repeat burglary claims

Postcode prefix

Area covered

1

N

North London

1

M

Manchester

2

NW

North West London

3

LS

Leeds

4

SW

South West London

4

L

Liverpool

5

BS

Bristol

6

HA

Harrow (North West London)

7

B

Birmingham

8

E

East London


LV=

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,500 people, serves over four million customers and members, and manages around £8.0bn (as at 31 December 2010) on their behalf, via LV= Asset Management (LVAM). We are also the UK's largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider. www.LVAM.co.uk.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com.


  1. According to figures provided by the Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice, 23,579 offenders were sentenced for burglary in 2010. 10,430 of these were given a custodial sentence (44%), serving an average 18.8 months. 9,003 were given community penalties (38%). 2,598 were given a suspended sentence (11%)

  2. According to figures provided by the Justice Statistics Analytical Services - 10,430 of these were given a custodial sentence (44%), serving an average 18.8 months. 9,003 were given community penalties (38%). 2,598 were given a suspended sentence (11%)

  3. According to figures provided by the Justice Statistics Analytical Services from the 2009 cohort, over half (52.1 per cent) of those given suspended sentences offend again within twelve months. More than a third of these (36%) commit another burglary offence.

  4. According to the ICM research, one in ten (9%) of victims of burglary have fallen victim to more than one burglary.

  5. According to the British Crime Survey, 659,000 incidents of burglary took place in 2009/2010.