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Domestic burglaries increase as pandemic lockdown lifts

Household burglaries have begun to increase as lockdown restrictions are eased, according to data from a national insurance firm.

The number of burglaries reported to forces have gone up as people start to leave their homes in larger numbers.

Data from insurance firm Churchill revealed forces reported a 6.2% increase between the first and second quarters of this year.

It means there were 3,600 more burglaries between April and June than between January and March.

Around £169m worth of goods may have been stolen during this time, the firm said.

While the nation was forced to stay at home, house break-ins dropped. In the year ending March 2020, there were 356,017 recorded burglaries in England and Wales, a drop of 9% on the same period the year before.

“With lockdown restrictions easing, it is unsurprising that people are taking advantage and leaving their homes more. Our habits have changed drastically over the past 18 months and we may have become complacent about home security as we have spent so much time there,” said Steven Williams, head of Churchill home insurance.

A survey conducted by the insurer found that of the four million people who are planning to return to work after months on furlough or doing their job from home, 69% of those surveyed are worried about being burgled.

A quarter told the insurer they were “extremely concerned”.

Mr Williams said home owners should review security measures: “As people prepare to go on holiday and return to the office, we are encouraging them to take the time to look at what security measures they have in place and check simple things – such as doors and windows are locked – before leaving. It is often the simple measures that are the most effective.”

But the resurgence in offences has been followed by an uptick in arrests; the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Durham and Kent have all made arrests for multiple offences in recent days.

Household improvements carried out during lockdown – such as the purchase of doorbell CCTV cameras – has enabled better identification of suspects.

Neighbourhood Watch, the crime prevention charity, said homeowners should improve home security: “As we exit out of lockdown, more of us are leaving our homes unoccupied once again and opportunists are ready to take advantage of this. As with all types of crime, prevention is much better than cure.” 

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