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Burglary and drug-related crimes top concerns of potential homeowners in the UK

With the UK recently reaching record-breaking temperatures, summer has made a dramatic entrance this year, and with summer comes the long-awaited summer holiday for families and holidaymakers across the globe.

ABTA's 2018 Holiday Habits Report highlights the increase in overseas vacations taken throughout 2018, with 60% of the population taking a foreign holiday in the last 12 months (the highest figure since 2011). Although this is an exciting time of the year for most, long periods spent away from the home also brings the potential threat of burglary. However, recent research conducted by insurance provider Churchill highlights that the fear of home invasion extends far beyond holidaymakers, affecting the housing market also.

 

What crimes top the nation's worry list?

In a recent press release, Churchill reveals that during research conducted amongst one hundred estate agents, one in seven believe that local crime rates are becoming an increasing issue for prospective buyers. Local burglary rates are cited as the top cause of distress, with 88% of buyers expressing that they were either concerned or extremely concerned about this issue.

Following closely behind were concerns surrounding local drug-related crime, at an astounding 83%. The National Statistics July release of Crime in England and Wales notes that drug offences have risen a staggering 11% since 2018, and although they emphasise that the two countries have noted a drop of 3% when it comes to burglaries, anxieties surrounding burglary are clearly affecting the property market. It's believed that over 29,000 house sales collapse each year because of worries about local crime. That's around £6.6bn in property sales.

Head of Churchill Home Insurance, Craig Rixon said: "With crime rates rising across the UK, it is no surprise to see that this is having a detrimental knock-on effect on homebuyer confidence". Plus, with recent talk of legalising cannabis in the UK, perhaps this could also be the cause of potential homeowners' apprehension to buy. However, Rixon goes on to implore the public to not become too swayed by these recent statistics, stating that "this should not necessarily deter purchases of dream properties. No matter where the property is, or what the crime rates are in the area".

 

So what can potential buyers do to combat these issues?

As an initial step, buyers should carry out some research into the crime statistics of their prospective neighbourhood. The Police website has an easy to use online crime map that is able to show you where and what type of offences were committed in your area, just by entering your postcode, giving you peace of mind before signing any contracts.

Secondly, as Rixon mentions, "homes should always be fitted with an appropriate level of security features, including locks, an alarm and security lights". So if you're anxious about home invasions, having a good quality home security is vital. ITV's This Morning recently ran a segment in which they discussed top tips for home security with an ex-burglar, which includes some useful advice about staying aware and thinking from the perspective of an intruder.

As former burglar Michael Fraser mentions, "It's just quite simple really, it's being sensible, looking at your own property and imagining you haven't got the keys. How would you get in?" Fraser goes on to praise modern doorbells that are fitted with cameras that alert you via your mobile phone when people approach the door, giving you the ability to see what's happening outside your front door even if you're not at home.

Finally, in the event that burglars are able to gain entry to your home, Rixon advises that it is important homeowners and tenants alike ensure they have an up-to-date and comprehensive home insurance policy which will not just cover the theft of replacing any items, but any damage caused to your property too. This gives you the peace of mind that your valuables are protected even in the worst-case scenario.

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