Burglars turning to next generation technology

  • Claims for laptops have dropped 30 per cent, yet tablets are trending among burglary claims
  • Bicycles top the list of most in-demand item for burglars
  • Burglars take a break at Christmas with claims dropping by a fifth (19 per cent)

Mobile phones and tablets are the most in-demand items for burglars according to new claims analysis carried out by Direct Line Home Insurance and Direct Validation Services. While bicycles remain the item of choice among burglars, making up 17 per cent of all theft claims handled by Direct Line, mobile phones have moved the most in the top 10, jumping from fifth to second place.

The analysis suggests that burglars are shifting their attention to next generation devices at the expense (or fortune) of others. Claims for laptops have dropped by 30 per cent, falling two places in the top 10. Conversely, tablets such as iPads have jumped up two places to fifth place in the league table of most stolen items. Mobile phones, in second place overall, make up more than one in 10 (11 per cent) of all theft claims.

Televisions round out the top 10, but the research reveals burglars’ propensity to steal these items is waning with claims for TVs dropping by more than a third (35 per cent) in just one year. It’s not surprising that burglars are leaving the family television behind as their ever increasing size makes it challenging to steal in a smash and grab, and the falling costs of a set means their resale value has diminished.

Table: Top 10 items favoured by burglars

Position Item stolen Percentage of total claims Change
1 Bicycles 17% -
2 Mobile Phones 11% +3
3 Power Tools 10% -
4 Laptops 10% -2
5 Tablets 9% +2
6 Cameras 8% -2
7 Golf 7% -1
8 Gardening tools 7% -
9 Audio equipment 5% -
10 TVs 3% -

Source: Direct Line Group, 2015

Winter is a burglar’s favourite time to work with a fifth of all claims (19 per cent) occurring in January and February. Short, dark days mean there are more opportunities to strike, with gardens, sheds and garages being particularly targeted. That said, even burglars take Christmas off, with claims in December dropping by a fifth (19 per cent).

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line home insurance, said: “With the nights drawing in, it is perhaps unsurprising that thefts increase, as there are more opportunities for burglars to strike without being seen. Items such as bicycles, gardening tools and golf equipment are amongst the most sought-after items, so if items must be stowed away outside the home, homeowners should make sure they are safe and secure.

“It is also important to check that your insurance policy covers specific items such as sporting equipment left locked in the garden shed, as not all insurers cover this as standard. Items left at home while you’re out should be kept out of sight and it may be worth investing in extra security measures such as proximity alarms or security lights, to keep potential burglars at bay.”

Direct Line’s top tips on helping protect your belongings

  • Tablets and phones now often come with security features that allow users to track their device. Ensure this is turned on as it will help police locate your device should it be stolen. If you are burgled, also call your contract provider immediately and have the line and phone blocked
  • Try not to leave packaging for new expensive goods outside your home. It is better to take it to a public recycling bin, as this can attract burglars
  • If you leave the house empty for long periods of time, it may be worth investing in timed lights or just leaving an internal light on to deter burglars
  • If you keep power tools or garden equipment in an outbuilding or shed, make sure the shed is locked and/or has security features such as an alarm or security light
  • If you own a bicycle, make a note or take photographs of any frame numbers that may be present. This makes it easier for police to find and return your bicycle should it be stolen
  • Keep receipts of any expensive electrical items, but do not keep them with items. Any unwanted receipts should be shredded

For more information on this please visit: www.directline.com/home-insurance

Notes to editors:

1Direct Line Group customer theft claims fulfilled by Direct Validation Services part of Ryan Direct Group www.ryandirectgroup.co.uk 2013 and 2014

For further information, please contact:

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England 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.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

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