There has been an alarmingly large rise in the number of robberies and burglaries at local shops during the last twelve months, according to new crime statistics gathered by the Association of Convenience Stores (The ACS).
Police figures also indicate that the number of domestic burglaries rose last year for the first time in six years – and very often burglars turn violent when confronted by householders.
Experts at the University of Leicester, meanwhile, have found that an influx of cheap electronic goods from China and the Far East has prompted some burglars to turn to robberies and muggings instead in order to steal iPods and mobile phones. Both are easy to sell 'on the streets' and are probably the equivalent of a small company guaranteeing its cash flow by selling on a faster turnover of goods!
So just how do you protect yourself in a mugging situation, and how can you make your home burglar proof?
The ACS found a 30% increase in the number of robberies at local shops and an 11% increase in the cost of each robbery in the past year. The number of burglaries has risen by 19% with a massive 190% increase in the cost of each burglary, which now amount to an average of £6,091.
The number of domestic burglaries recorded by Police in England & Wales last year rose for the first time in six years to 284,427 from 280,694 in 2007/8. According to the British Crime Survey, frighteningly, householders came face to face with burglars in 20% of burglaries last year.
In two out of ten burglaries, burglars don't even use force – they climb in through an open window or simply walk through an open door. Don't make it easy for the burglar – here are a few tips on how to make your home safer, courtesy of the police:
Check doors and window are locked when going out – even if only for a few moments
Don't leave valuables near windows or doors where they can be seen
Use timer lights if you are going out at night
Ensure sheds and garages are secure – and don't leave tools lying around
Make a list of all the valuables you have at home and photograph them (put smaller items like jewellery against a ruler to gauge size). Use an invisible marking pen to write your house number and postcode on as many things as you can. There is also an invisible liquid with a unique 'code' which is called SmartWater, which means stolen items can be traced back to their rightful owners.
However, what can you do if faced with a mugger in the street?
According to the experts at the University of Leicester, criminals are keeping up with the times by moving from traditional burglaries to personal muggings. Globalisation has brought the price of many household goods down, especially electronic devices, which means their resale value is close to zero! This has resulted in many burglars having a 'career change', preferring to steal smaller but pricier items such as mobile phones and iPods, which people carry with them.
So don't flash your iPod or mobile phone, wallet or jewellery – especially whilst you are in a dodgy area. Most muggings happen at night, on the street or on public transport. Try and stay in well lit areas and with a crowd.
If you are mugged, don't fight back as the attacker could easily be carrying a knife. Dial 999 and notify the police. You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report the crime later. If your phone is stolen, get it blocked and cancel any stolen bank cards immediately. Change the locks on your property if your keys are stolen as there is every chance the muggers can track down your address.
Your household and personal insurance will cover you for most losses. If you are unsure as to what you can claim for, speak with an expert. Call Westhill Insurance Services and speak with one of their advisors – they can't stop you being mugged or burgled, but they can offer pragmatic and sensible advice on the best policy for you.
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.