Guildford has topped a poll of places with the most burglaries over the past five years.

Price comparison site MoneySupermarket looked at millions of home insurance quotes over the past two years to identify the postcodes with the highest and lowest rate of claims for home contents theft.

The postal district of GU3 in Guildford takes the top spot – despite not featuring in the top 20 at all last year – with 52.31 claims per 1,000 quotes.

It is closely followed by Cambridge which has leapt from 12th place last year to 2nd with 51.43 claims per 1,000 quotes.

Last year London dominated the top 20 with 16 postcodes featuring, but now it has been overtaken by Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham taking third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.

Meanwhile, last year’s top spot for home theft, Redbridge (IG4) has dropped out of the top 20 completely.

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The habits of British burglars

“This year’s claims analysis suggests burglaries fall into two main categories: crimes committed in wealthy suburbs, where thieves expect rich pickings and a degree of seclusion, and busy urban areas, where strangers attract little attention and burglars hope to make speedy getaways,” says Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySupermarket.

The research also found that thieves love winter, when the cover of darkness provides more opportunity to break in and the rewards are far greater thanks to expensive Christmas presents lying around.

The value of claims in winter was on average 37% higher than claims submitted in summer.

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Burglary hotspots

 

Postal District

Area

Contents Theft Rate (per 1,000 quotes)

1.

GU3

Guildford, Compton, Normandy, Woking, Pirbright, Worplesdon, Puttenham, Fairlands, Wood Street Village, Wanborough, Artington,

52.31

2.

CB5

Cambridge, Fen Ditton

51.43

3.

B15

Birmingham

51.16

4.

M21

Manchester

50.37

5.

LS5

Leeds

50.15

6.

L16

Liverpool

49.49

7.

LS8

Oakwood, Leeds

47.31

8.

TW11

Teddington, Hampton, Hampton Wick

46.12

9.

CB4

Cambridge, Histon and Impington, Milton

45.83

10.

SW14

Richmond

45.17

11.

CM4

Ingatestone, Mararetting, West Hanningfield, Fryerning, Margaretting Tye

43.73

12.

BD14

Clayton, West Yorkshire, Queensbury, Thornton, West Yorkshire

43.21

13.

EH5

Edinburgh

42.11

14.

SK8

Cheadle, Stockport, Heald Green

41.59

15.

EN4

Barnet

41.55

16.

DA3

Longfield, Hartley, Meopham, New Ash Green

41.38

17.

IG7

Chigwell

41.15

18.

IG8

Woodford

41.10

19.

S11

Sheffield, Ringinglow

40.98

20.

TW12

Hampton, Twickenham, Feltham, Teddington, Hampton Hill

40.82

How to protect your home

“We should bear in mind that many criminals are opportunists – if they see a soft target they will pounce,” says Pratt. “That makes it crucial for everyone, regardless of where they live, to be vigilant and to take the necessary steps to keep burglars at bay.”

How to protect your home (Image:Shutterstock)

Here are five ways to make your home more secure:

  1. Install top quality locks on your doors and windows. Once they are installed actually use them! Make sure all your windows are kept locked and check all doors are locked when not in use.
  2. Get a burglar alarm. Use professionals to fit a British Standard approved burglar alarm. If will cost you but your insurance premiums should come down and it should deter burglars.
  3. Keep your valuables in a secure place. If you can get a safe installed, or consider keeping valuable items in your loft – most burglars won’t have time to get up there. Don’t keep things in a shoebox in your wardrobe, reformed burglars have admitted that’s the first place they look.
  4. Use timers on your lights. A well-lit home is off-putting to thieves who don’t want to be seen and will think someone is at home, so use timers to put lights on when you aren’t at home or use a smart home app so you can switch lights on and off even when you are away.
  5. Don’t advertise your holidays. Many burglars now use social media to target empty homes. This has resulted in a number of high-profile footballers being robbed when they are at away games, but it also means you shouldn’t announce your holidays on social media. Also, if you are going away ask a neighbour to park on your drive so it looks like someone is coming and going from your house.

“Households should do what they can to boost security and prevent burglary happening. Insurance companies will lower their premiums for people who have robust locks on doors and windows, fit and maintain burglar alarms, use a safe for valuables and join a neighbourhood watch,” says Pratt.

Is your home in a burglary hotspot? (Image:Shutterstock)

The safest places to live

At the other end of the spectrum here are the 20 postcodes with the fewest claims for theft from the home.

 

Postal District

Area

Contents Theft Rate (per 1,000 quotes)

1.

EX39

Bideford, Hartland

0.78

2.

SR7

Murston, Seaham, Dalton-le-Dale, Cold Hesledon

1.09

3.

EX16

Tiverton, Sampford Peverell, Witheridge, Bickleigh

1.10

4.

DL16

Spennymoor, Byers Green, Kirk Merrington, Middlestone, Page Bank, Westerton, County Durham, Whitworth, North Close

1.16

5.

SY23

Aberystwyth, Llanbadarn Fawr, Penparcau

1.18

6.

CF31

Bridgend, Court Colman, Pen-y-fai

1.22

7.

TQ13

Chagford

1.26

8.

CA13

Cockermouth, Cumbria

1.27

9.

NE31

Hebburn

1.30

10.

EX15

Cullompton, Willand

1.35

11.

BT37

Whiteabbey

1.36

12.

CF35

Bridgend

1.38

13.

PL19

Tavistock, Bradstone, Mary Tavy, Brentor

1.39

14.

AB43

Fraserburgh, Pennan

1.39

15.

LL55

Caernarfon, Llanberies, Beddgelert

1.40

16.

KY4

Cowdenbeath, Kelty

1.41

17.

CA15

Maryport, Allonby, Flimby, Dearham

1.50

18.

TQ4

Paignton, Stoke Gabriel

1.50

19.

NN18

Corby, Geddington, Great Oakley, Northamptonshire

1.60

20.

NR20

Dereham, Bawdeswell, Swanton Morley, North Elmham, Mattishall, Whissonsett, Beetley, Guestwick, Welborne

1.63