Thefts predicted to soar as recession-hit unemployed turn to crime

Thefts predicted to soar as recession-hit unemployed turn to crime

Leading home insurer, The Co-operative Insurance, is urging homeowners to be vigilant about security as it predicts a possible credit crunch crimewave could hit the UK in the next six months.

With the recession taking hold and the number of redundancies now standing at more than two million, opportunists are hunting for easy ways to make money. The Home Office has reported a significant increase in opportunistic theft in recent months and launched a £1.6m burglary prevention programme to tackle the problem.

Currently, there is a burglary every 20 seconds in the UK and The Co-operative Insurance predicts thefts will take place even more frequently . The insurer said it will take between three and six months for the increase in thefts to become evident following the steep rise in unemployment with men under 25 the most likely to turn to crime, the insurer predicts.

The Co-operative Insurance says that 90 per cent of all burglaries are opportunistic and warns that most thieves will exploit an insecure lock on a door or an open window to steal small items such as money, electrical goods and jewellery. Garages and sheds are also at great risk if they are not adequately secured and the leading insurer is advising homeowners to enhance home security by fitting gates, security lights and alarms, and securing windows and doors.

Unfortunately, a quarter of homes or 4.5 million adults, do not have contents insurance which means they could stand to lose large sums of money if their possessions are not insured.

James Hillon Head of Home Insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: “History has shown that in times of high unemployment there is a direct link to a surge in burglary in the following three to six months, as opportunists thieves look for ways in which to make money.

Hillon continued: “This means that, although households are trying to cut back on spending, home insurance shouldn’t be one of the compromises. Homeowners should do everything they possibly can to ensure their homes are theft-proof to reduce the chances of being burgled and to avoid becoming an easy target, including maintaining adequate insurance cover on their homes. Fitting window locks and security alarms can also cut the cost of insurance, so it is worth the investment in the long term.”

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