South Yorkshire named as worst area in the country for winter break-ins, data analysis shows
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South Yorkshire has been named as the worst area in the country for winter break-ins, a new data analysis has shown.
The ranking, from insurance firm Howden Insurance, analysed police force data to determine which areas of England and Wales are the most vulnerable to break-ins during the festive period.
Using data from the past three years, the study identified which police forces recorded the highest number of burglaries throughout November and December, per 100,000 residents.
South Yorkshire was found to have the highest number of break-ins during this period, with 148 burglaries per 100,000 residents on average.
South Yorkshire Police, who cover Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, has recorded a total of 6,121 burglaries in total throughout November and December over the last three years; an average of 2,040 burglaries per year for these selected months.
South Yorkshire was also found to have experienced a 12.31 per cent increase in reported burglaries between 2020 and 2022.
Responding to the data analysis, Superintendent Peter Thorp, South Yorkshire Police's force lead for neighbourhood crime, said: “Unfortunately, in South Yorkshire we mirror the national picture in that we tend to see an increase in burglary in the winter months and general neighbourhood crime. This is due to the nights being darker and longer, providing more opportunities for burglars to move around without being noticed.
“We continue to identify trends on how criminals commit neighbourhood crime related offences and are developing problem oriented policing plans on how we can tackle these rising trends. By identifying hotspot areas across the force which see higher levels of burglary offences and see what methods burglars are using in that specific area we can then develop bespoke plans with our neighbourhood policing officers to ensure we engage with those residents and effectively share advice on how they can keep their property and personal belongings safe.
"We have recently seen a fall in burglary offences in Doncaster. In March 2023, Doncaster launched Operation Castle – a dedicated operation to target burglars. This operation has seen a consistent fall in residential burglary in Doncaster, and the burglary rates in September and October 2023 were the lowest in Doncaster in the last five years. We are now looking at learning from Operation Castle and how we can adapt this approach across South Yorkshire.
“In November, we have also launched a new neighbourhood crime campaign, focusing on sharing crime prevention advice around burglary, personal robbery and theft of motor vehicles and dedicating specific activity to areas across the force which see higher levels of these offences.
“Anyone can become a victim of neighbourhood crime. Criminals do not care who their target is and they are looking for easy opportunities where they can slip away without being noticed. The more you do to make it harder for a criminal, the lower the chance of you becoming a victim.
“We know that being burgled or having personal belongings stolen has a lasting negative impact on people, so we want to help share advice on what everyone can do to become less of a target to thieves.
"If you have any concerns or see any behaviour that is suspicious, we please ask that you report it to us. This can be via our online portal, calling 101 or talking to us if you see us out and about. Advice on how to keep your property and belongings safe can also be found on our website.”
The analysis shows that the second most likely area to experience a break-in over the winter period is Cleveland, with an average of 128 burglaries per 100,000 people. Cleveland Police, who cover Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland recorded 2,190 burglaries throughout November and December over the past three years. Cleveland Police have also seen a 4.32 per cent increase in recorded burglaries between 2020 and 2022.
London, which is covered by the Metropolitan Police Service, was named the third most at risk with an average of 110 burglaries per 100,000 people. The police force, which covers London’s boroughs excluding the City of London, recorded a staggering 29,124 total burglaries between November and December, over the past three years, at an average of 9,708 burglaries per year for these months.
In fourth place is West Yorkshire with its police force recording 107 burglaries per 100,000 people, while Humberside ranked fifth with 97 burglaries per 100,000 residents.
At the other end of the scale, the homeowners were found to be least at risk in Norfolk, with an average of 38 burglaries per 100,000 residents.