Peeping through the curtains: Unveiling England and Wales’ most paranoid cities17-08-2023 | Landlord News
A poll from the Home Office revealed that 61% of Brits think that crime rates are increasing across the nation, and over half (51%) of people are worried about becoming a victim of crime. It’s only natural to be wary of the amount of crime that happens in your local area, but are some cities in the UK more worried than others, and more importantly, is this concern warranted?
To find out, CIA Landlords Insurance has conducted new research, comparing how worried residents are when it comes to crime in their city, with the actual number of robberies and burglaries that happen in the area. The research has also looked into whether crime rates really do have an impact on house prices.
Preston is the most paranoid city in England and Wales
Topping the list of the most paranoid cities in England and Wales is Preston. Residents of the northern city are more worried about crime in their area than any other city, though they see some of the lowest rates of robberies and burglaries across the country.
According to survey data, people in Preston are particularly concerned about their home getting broken into and having their belongings stolen. Preston has been given a ‘worry’ score of 66.82 for this specific crime, the highest of all cities analysed. Those living in Preston are also more worried than any other city about being mugged or robbed, with a score of 68.86.
Despite the high levels of concern about safety in the city, Preston actually sees some of the lowest amounts of crime in the country. There were only 195 robberies in the city over the last year – the fifth lowest number of all cities analysed. There were also 734 residential burglary cases in the city, which is almost three times less than in the neighbouring city of Liverpool, which saw 2,091. Residential burglaries are break-ins that happen in or around a dwelling, so buildings such as sheds, garages, residential homes, and hostels are also included in this category.
Southend-on-Sea is the second most paranoid city in the UK. When it comes to concerns over their homes being broken into, residents have been given a worry score of 60.26, which is the fifth highest score of all cities analysed. In actual fact, Southend-on-Sea experiences even less residential burglaries than Preston, with 572 happening over the course of last year. The city also sees the third lowest number of other types of break-ins, for instance those targeting shops or businesses, with just 720 happening between March 2022 and March 2023.
The city is even more concerned about muggings and robberies in the area, with a worry score of 67.67. Southend-on-Sea did see more robberies over the last year than Preston, with 297 happening in the area, however this is still a relatively low score when compared with other cities across the country.
In third place is Wolverhampton. Residents in the city have the second highest worry score when it comes to concerns about their homes getting broken into, at 63.04. However this concern is perhaps a little more warranted, as the city does see nearly double the number of residential burglaries than Preston, with 1,243 happening last year. Those living in the West Midlands city are also relatively concerned about muggings in the area, with a worry score of 62.57 – the fourth highest of all cities analysed. Again, this concern is perhaps more justified as the city does see more robberies than both Preston and Southend-on-Sea, with 656 reported cases over the last year.
The fourth most paranoid city is Bradford. The city’s residents are particularly anxious about being mugged or robbed, with a worry score of 62.88 – the third highest of all cities. Given that the city did see 833 robbery cases last year this concern is perhaps more warranted, however this number is much lower than in other cities, such as Birmingham which saw 4,559 robberies. Rounding off the top five most paranoid cities in the UK is Coventry.
London is the least paranoid city in England and Wales
Despite experiencing the highest crime rates of all cities analysed, Londoners are relatively unconcerned about their safety. Residents are particularly relaxed when it comes to their homes being broken into, having been given a worry score of just 47.39 for this particular crime. Perhaps those living in the capital should be slightly more concerned however, as there were a huge 37,466 residential burglaries reported last year – the most of all cities analysed by far.
When it comes to concerns around being mugged or robbed, Londoners are a little more worried, with a score of 57. This wariness is definitely justified given that London sees the most robberies of all cities analysed, with 29,553 happening last year – over 150 times the amount that occurred in Preston.
Norwich has ranked as the second least paranoid city in England and Wales. Residents in the city don’t tend to fear their homes getting broken into, with a worry score of just 20.38 – the lowest of all cities analysed. Given that Norwich experiences the least residential burglaries of all cities analysed, with just 331 happening last year, this lack of concern is perhaps not so surprising. Those living in the city also have the lowest worry score when it comes to concerns about being mugged or robbed, at 20.29. Again, the city sees one of the lowest number of robberies, with just 190 cases reported between March 2022 and March 2023.
In third place is Swansea. Residents in the Welsh city are not particularly concerned about muggings or robbery, with a worry score of just 29.34 – the second lowest score of all cities analysed. Given that Swansea saw just 56 reported robbery cases last year, the lowest of all cities across the UK, this lack of concern is justified.
Dudley and Newcastle upon Tyne round off the top five least paranoid cities in the UK. Residents in Dudley have been given a worry score of just 28.12 when it comes to concerns around their houses being broken into, however the city did see 1,313 residential burglary cases in the last year alone, suggesting perhaps those living in the city should be a little more wary.
Crimes rate don’t tend to have an impact on house prices
While some might believe that crime rates can lower the value of a house, landlords will be pleased to know that this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Stoke on Trent, for instance, is home to the cheapest average property prices, at £900 per square metre for an apartment in the city centre, while Birmingham has the second most expensive average property prices of £5,653. When comparing the crime rates in both cities, Stoke on Trent actually sees a lower number, at 120 per 1,000 households, than Birmingham, which sees a crime rate of 141.
Another example can be found with Manchester. The city has the highest crime rates outside of London, at 181 per 1,000 households, but is within the top ten most expensive cities to buy property, with a city centre apartment averaging £3,957 per square metre.
So, while crime rates may influence whether someone chooses to move to an area, there are other more important factors that can determine the value of a house, for example, the schools in the area, how good the public transport links are, and the number of amenities.
How landlords can keep their property as safe as possible
Richard Wayman, Finance Director at CIA Landlord Insurance says, “Prevention is always the best, and most cost-effective, way to protect your property and your tenants. With this in mind, we’ve put together some top tips for how landlords can ensure their rental property is safe and secure:
1. Set up security systems
Setting up your property with external security lights can be a good way to prevent thieves from creeping around your home, especially if your property is in a dark spot.
Security cameras can also be a great deterrent for intruders. Installing either a camera or a ring doorbell means your tenants can keep an eye on who is at the front door, no matter what time of day it is. Security footage can also be helpful if you do find your home broken into, as you can send the evidence to the police, and may also be able to use it when making a claim with your insurance provider.
2. Install window locks
Windows are often one of the first entry points that burglars will check, so securing them is really important. Installing window locks can be a simple way to improve your security – just make sure to leave the keys with your tenants!
3. Secure patio doors
Sliding doors are another vulnerable spot in a home, and are relatively easy to open for intruders. Whether you have them on your patio or balcony, you might want to think about either upgrading the locks, installing top and bottom deadbolts, or even investing in a higher quality frame to make sure they are secure.
4. Use automatic timers
Any property is more attractive to intruders when it seems unoccupied, so if you are between tenants it might be wise to invest in automatic timers. These can turn lights and lamps on and off so the property looks occupied even if no one is living there. This can also be a handy solution even if you do have tenants, for example if they go on holiday, or whilst they are out.
5. Get landlord insurance
If you do find your property broken into, landlord contents insurance can cover the cost of replacing white goods and furniture if these are stolen. While it won’t prevent a break-in, having landlord insurance will give you peace of mind that you are fully covered for any eventuality.
Sources and methodology
CIA Landlord Insurance pulled together a seedlist of the 30 most populated cities in the UK. To note: cities in Scotland were removed due to lack of data.
The research then compared the ‘worry’ score for ‘worries about a home being broken into and things stolen’ and ‘worries about being mugged or robbed’ with the number of robberies, burglaries, and residential burglaries in each city, using ONS data.
The cities were then given an overall paranoia ranking. To determine whether crime rates have an impact on property price, the research used the same seedlist of the 30 most populated cities. The price per square metre to buy an apartment in the city centre was sourced from Numbeo while the total recorded crime per 1,000 households was sourced from ONS data.
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