Recent reports suggest that robberies in England and Wales are increasing at the fastest rate of any major developed country.
Between 2014-2018, robberies in England and Wales increased at a rate of 33%, with Scotland also experiencing a 4% rise in this crime over the same time.
In contrast, France experienced a 24% drop in robberies, with Denmark, Germany and Holland also seeing double-digit declines in this crime.
What can be done to help prevent this?
While the numbers don’t make for good reading (and the charge rate for such offences has dropped while robberies are on the rise), there are some simple reasons why robberies are taking place, and some things you can do to help prevent yourself becoming a victim.
1. Protect your smartphone
Smartphone usage in the UK is higher than anywhere else in the world, with more than 8 out of 10 people using one.
This is a major reason for the increase in robberies over the last few years.
Don’t make it obvious to potential thieves that you are carrying an expensive phone. Look around yourself before using the device in public, to ensure would-be thieves don’t take the opportunity to pick up an easy ‘prize’.
Wearing earbuds or headphones is a giveaway that you have a device in your possession, so be careful not to draw attention to yourself.
Place your phone in a front pocket or inner pocket, rather than in your back pocket where it is visible and easier to steal.
2. Don’t carry cards or money you don’t need
Carrying a wallet full of cards makes it easy for opportunistic thieves to use multiple accounts to order goods online or use on contactless terminals for smaller purchases. It is also means that, should you lose your wallet, it’s more difficult to stop several cards at once.
Cash is even easier for thieves to take and spend, with less chance of them being caught.
Only take out what you need for where you are going.
3. Don’t leave bags or valuables unattended
A fairly obvious thing, but it’s easy to leave a bag or phone on a table while ordering a drink or some food in a cafe or bar.
Leaving your coat on a chair with your phone or wallet in it also makes it easy for opportunistic thieves to take advantage.
4. Be careful when walking alone, especially at night
If you are walking alone at night, always stay in well-lit areas and public spaces wherever possible.
If you suspect you are being followed – at any time of day – cross the road, go into a shop or other public area and stay there until the threat subsides.
While waiting for public transport, stay in well-lit areas and near other people where possible. Be aware of your surroundings while on public transport, and move to another area (such as a different carriage on a train) if you feel unsafe.
5. Don’t display expensive watches, jewellery or electronic gadgets
Being ostentatious and showing off expensive items can be seen as enticing for thieves.
Be careful about your surroundings when wearing jewellery or carrying laptops around, for example. Anything that could be desirable to other people is desirable to thieves, so be conscious and alert whenever you have valuable items with you in public.
6. Make sure you have personal possessions contents cover on your home insurance
It is possible to protect possessions away from the home as part of your insurance policy.
While mobile phones can often be covered under ‘unspecified personal possessions’ on your contents policy, there are some insurers who will ask you to specify items such as mobile phones, laptops and bicycles separately for them to be covered.
Check your personal possessions cover with your insurer if in doubt. You can always speak to your broker about adding this cover to your policy if needed.
Quoteline Direct’s home insurance team are on 0161 874 3599, or you can get a quote for home insurance online.