History repeating itself: nearly half of burglary victims are targeted again

  • 3.9m people have had their homes broken into multiple times
  • Nearly 260,000 burglaries were reported to the police across the UK last year
  • 81 per cent of police forces reported a rise in burglaries between Q3 and Q4 2021
  • Total value of home insurance claims for burglary surpassed £72 million last year

The latest Burglary Barometer1 from Churchill Home Insurance reveals nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of people have been burgled in their current property and of these nearly half (44 per cent or 3.9 million) fell victim multiple times. With people on average having lived in their current property for just under nine and a half years, a total of nine million people (17 per cent) say they have been the victim of burglary.

Over the course of 2021, more than £72 million worth of valuables were claimed on home insurance by policyholders3, an average of £200,000 every day, with each burgled household losing more than £3,200 in valuables.

The research reveals over a quarter of a million people in the UK have fallen victim to burglary a devastating five times.  While over three quarters of a million have been targeted three times, causing incredible stress and financial loss.    

Table one: Reported repeat burglary rates in current homes, 2022

Number of times burgled

Total number of Britons (share of the population)

Chance of being burgled (again)


43.3 million (82 per cent)

17 per cent


9.0 million (10 per cent)

44 per cent


3.9 million (four per cent)

44 per cent

Three times

872,000 (two per cent)

50 per cent

Four times

502,000 (one per cent)

42 per cent

Five times

264,000 (0.5 per cent)

29 per cent

The high number of households that have been repeatedly targeted by burglars has had an impact on the perceived safety of the home. Two in five (39 per cent) of those who have not been burgled say they are worried about the threat of this crime; this rises to 55 per cent among those whose home has previously been broken into. 

Police force data

The latest police force data3 paints a worrying picture, with an 11 per cent increase in burglaries in Q4 2021 when compared to the previous three months. With an estimated 72,700 burglaries throughout October, November, and December, this equates to an average of 790 reported break-ins every day across the UK.

This continues a worrying trend in rising burglary rates, with an increase in cases reported in each of the past three quarters since Q1 2021. With final figures for December having just been reported, this takes the total number of reported burglaries across the whole of 2021 to an alarming 258,600 or 709 per day.

Sarah Khan, Head of Churchill home insurance, said: “Our analysis highlights the misery burglars have inflicted on some households, with some victims targeted four or five times. This suggests that some properties are naturally under greater threat and may require more active burglary prevention measures to ensure their property stays safe. It is worrying that police force data shows this invasive and distressing crime is on the rise.”

Regional hotspots

London, represented by the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police, remains the UK’s burglary hotspot, accounting for one in five break-ins in Q4 last year (20 per cent, or 14,500 reported cases). This is followed by West Yorkshire Police (five per cent), South Yorkshire Police (four per cent) and Lancashire Constabulary (three per cent). Overall, 81 per cent of police forces reported a rise in burglaries between Q3 and Q4, with Lincolnshire Police reporting the greatest increase, with 39 per cent more burglaries than the previous quarter.

Table two: Police forces with the highest volume of reported burglaries, Q4 2021

Police Force

Total number of burglaries, Q4 2021

Share of all burglaries, Q4 2021

Metropolitan Police Service


20 per cent

West Yorkshire Police


5 per cent

South Yorkshire Police


4 per cent

Lancashire Constabulary


3 per cent

Hampshire Constabulary


3 per cent

Thames Valley Police


3 per cent

Avon and Somerset Constabulary


3 per cent

Northumbria Police


3 per cent

Essex Police


2 per cent

Kent Police


2 per cent

All police forces


100 per cent

Source: Churchill Home Insurance data, 2022

Homes at risk

Based on the most common types of property, Churchill’s claims analysis indicates that detached houses are at slightly greater risk of burglary. These homes account for 22 per cent of the housing stock in the UK, but 27 per cent of burglaries. The same is true of end-of-terrace houses, as they account for seven per cent of homes but nine per cent of burgled properties. The fact that both detached and end-of-terrace properties present access to the back of the house suggests that this is a preferred method of entry for burglars.

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 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 all easily accessible, 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 1st and 4th February 2022.

Analysis of Churchill home insurance claims data relating to burglary for the period covering full-year 2021, conducted in February 2022. All data is extrapolated based on Churchill’s home insurance market share.

3  Analysis of reported burglaries by police force across the UK, 2019-2021. Data excludes Greater Manchester Police, Police Scotland and West Midlands Police, which do not currently report on burglaries, while Derbyshire Constabulary did not publish statistics for December 2021. Overall figure is extrapolated based on regional populations to provide an estimated total for the whole of the UK

For further information please contact:

Hayley Fewster

Direct Line Group

Tel: 07837 007224

Email: [email protected]

Samantha Stewart

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Tel: 0207 025 6497

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.  

Customers can find out more about Churchill products or get a quote by calling 0300 200 300 or visiting www.churchill.com.