Breaking, entering and traumatising

  • Two fifths of burglary victims believe the crime had a "huge" impact on their family's day-to-day life 
  • Common side-effects of a break-in include anxiety, insomnia, and depression
  • 1.2 million victims of burglary moved house as a direct result of a break-in
  • London remains the burglary capital of the UK, accounting for one in six (15 per cent) of all burglaries, with nearly five reported every hour

New research1 from Churchill Home Insurance’s Burglary Barometer reveals the long-lasting emotional impact of burglary, with 2.2 million (39 per cent) victims saying their home being invaded had a “huge” impact on their family’s day-to-day life. Almost all victims of burglary (99 per cent) said that it had impacted them in some way.  The emotional cost of suffering a home break-in includes anxiety, insomnia, and depression.  The Churchill Burglary Barometer has tracked burglary in the UK and the public’s attitudes towards the crime since the start of 2021.

The most common emotions felt in the wake of a burglary are anger (27 per cent), feeling unsafe in their own home (26 per cent), feeling violated (25 per cent) and feeling unsafe when out and about (23 per cent). Other major side-effects include insomnia, which affects 22 per cent (1.2 million people), depression (16 per cent or 926,000 people) and anxiety or panic attacks (12 per cent, or 688,000 people).

Nearly 900,000 people (16 per cent) had to seek professional help through a doctor, counsellor, or therapist to deal with the trauma. To combat these negative feelings, more than 1.2 million Brits (22 per cent) have ended up moving house, either to a new property in the local area (nine per cent) or to a completely new area (13 per cent) as they could no longer face living in their burgled property.

The Burglary Barometer also reveals that there is a correlation between the financial and emotional impact of a burglary, with those who said that it had a “huge” impact on their life estimating that they had had nearly £1,500 worth of items stolen in the raid, 34 per cent higher than average (£1,144). This compares to a loss of £900 among those who said that the burglary had little or no impact on their lives, 19 per cent less than the average.

Sarah Khan, Head of Churchill home insurance, said: “While the main concern about burglary is often focused on the financial strain of repairing damage and replacing items, it is important to remember the long-lasting emotional impact that a home invasion can cause. Four fifths of victims highlight either a moderate or major impact on their families’ lives.

“With the average burglary resulting in the loss of more than £1,000 worth of personal items, sensible investment in home protection measures and comprehensive insurance could provide peace of mind for the millions of Britons concerned by the threat of burglary.”

These findings come as public concern over the threat of burglary increases, with the Barometer revealing an 18 per cent rise in the number of Britons who are worried about being burgled, an uplift of 3.9 million when compared to the previous wave of research. The number of people who believe that their property is poorly protected against burglary has also increased, rising by 31 per cent (3.4 million). Overall, this had led to a 72 per cent spike in the number of people who are worried and believe that their property is not safe against the threat of invasion in just three months.

Table one: Common attitudes towards burglary in the UK


Worried about the threat of burglary

Not worried by the threat of burglary


Poorly protected against burglary

9.7 million

(Up 72 per cent)

4.6 million

(Down 13 per cent)

14.3 million

(Up 31 per cent)

Well-protected against burglary

16.0 million

(Down 1 per cent)

22.6 million

(Down 12 per cent)

38.6 million

(Down 8 per cent)


25.7 million

(Up 18 per cent)

27.1 million

(Down 13 per cent)

52.9 million

Source: Churchill Home Insurance 2022

Analysis2 as part of the Burglary Barometer reveals that there were an estimated 65,500 burglaries across Britain in Q1 2022. While this is lower than in Q4 2021, when the Christmas period usually contributes to a sharp spike in reported burglaries, this figure is in line with the number reported in Q3 2021 and 12 per cent higher than in Q1 2021, suggesting that burglary is steadily on the rise again.

London remains the burglary capital of the UK, accounting for one in six (15 per cent) of all burglaries – more than 10,000 in total, or nearly five every hour. This was followed by West Yorkshire (3,474), South Yorkshire (3,134) and Hampshire (2,137), with Lancashire (1,956) completing the top five police forces.

Falling victim to burglary influences Britons’ insurance decisions, with 79 per cent altering the level of cover they had after an incident. Thirty per cent had previously only buildings insurance but decided to include contents as well as a result. While 29 per cent previously had contents insurance but decided to increase their level of cover. Only seven per cent of those without it, chose not to add contents cover because of a burglary.

Churchill has provided these top tips to help people make their homes as safe as possible against the increased threat of burglary:

  • Don’t advertise that your home is empty on social media
  • Take steps when you go away, such as cancelling any papers or milk deliveries, installing timers which switch lights or radios/smart speakers to come on automatically, and ask a trusted friend, family member or neighbour to keep an eye on the property
  • Do the basics well, such as ensuring all doors and windows are locked and making sure that high value items such as wallets, phones and laptops are kept out of sight
  • Make life hard for burglars by installing security measures like cameras and alarms, and being aware of objects that provide cover, such as large hedges, fences, or trees
  • Look out for your neighbours by joining a Neighbourhood Watch scheme to help the police cut crime and make the area a safer place to live
  • Prepare for the worst, hope for the best by ensuring that you have an up-to-date, comprehensive home insurance policy that will replace any items stolen or damaged in a burglary.



Notes to Editors

  1. Research conducted by Opinium amongst representative sample of 2,000 UK adults between the 6th and 11th May 2022.
  2. Churchill analysis of burglaries recorded by police forces across the UK between January and March 2022. Total UK figures are extrapolated weighted on population to include Police Scotland, West Midlands Police and Greater Manchester Police, which do not supply crime data.

For further information please contact:

Claire Howell

Churchill PR Manager

Tel: 01651 832 095

Email: [email protected]


Founded in 1989, Churchill is now one of the UK's leading providers of general insurance, offering car, home, travel and pet insurance cover over the phone or on-line.

Churchill general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.  

Churchill and U K Insurance Limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.  

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