Which London Boroughs have the Largest Surge in Home Burglaries over the Christmas Season?

Every November, December and January, residential burglary rates soar compared to the rest of the year. In London the burglary rate rises 23% on average during the festive season. Not only do the long, dark nights provide cover for would-be burglars, but homes are overflowing with enticing piles of brand-new consumer goods, from electronics to toys to jewellery—at this time of year most UK households are ramping up for the holidays, filling their homes with precious gifts for their loved ones.

Burglary Rates Increase over the Holidays

Chart showing the change in burglary rates across London boroughs throughout the year

But how much more likely are London households to be burgled over the holidays than the rest of the year? And which London boroughs have the best and worst burglary rates over Christmas?

To assess this, we gathered data from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Data Dashboard for residential burglaries throughout London between April 2010 until October 2017 by borough. (See the Methodology section below for a detailed description of how we generated our results.)

Where Burglary Rates Increase the Most Over the Holidays

The boroughs of Bexley, Harrow and Redbridge experience the largest percentage increase is residential burglaries around Christmas, with crime rates popping up 38%, 43% and 52%, respectively, compared to average rates in February through October. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the residential burglary rates in Islington and Kensington & Chelsea only inch up 2% between November and January.

Where Burglary Rates Increase the Most over the Holidays

Here's how much burglary rates surge in November, December and January, by London borough

Chart showing the rise in burglary rates across London boroughs at Christmas

London Boroughs Ranked by Lowest to Highest Surge in Burglary Rates at Christmas

Rank (1 = Smallest Rise in Burglary Rate at Xmas, 32 = LargestBoroughXmas Rate SurgeMonthly Burglary Rate: Nov - Jan (Burglaries/10,000 Residents)Monthly Burglary Rate: Feb - Oct (Burglaries/10,000 Residents)
1Islington2%5.105.00
2Kensington and Chelsea2%5.245.13
3Hackney4%4.604.42
4Hammersmith and Fulham7%5.965.55
5Southwark8%5.044.69
6Lambeth9%6.075.59
7Tower Hamlets9%4.103.76
8Wandsworth12%4.684.18
9Westminster14%5.344.69
10Greenwich17%4.744.06
11Richmond upon Thames18%4.563.88
12Camden19%6.065.08
13Croydon21%5.914.89
14Waltham Forest23%6.495.30
15Newham23%5.064.11
16Haringey24%7.626.14
17Lewisham25%6.234.99
18Sutton26%3.702.94
19Hounslow28%5.704.45
20Barking and Dagenham29%6.745.24
21Ealing30%6.545.02
22Merton30%5.514.22
23Bromley31%5.664.33
24Brent31%7.245.51
25Enfield32%7.005.31
26Barnet33%7.715.79
27Havering34%6.815.10
28Kingston upon Thames35%4.032.99
29Hillingdon37%6.744.92
30Bexley38%4.002.89
31Harrow43%7.094.96
32Redbridge52%8.395.52

Which London Boroughs Have the Highest and Lowest Burglary Rates around Christmas?

Instead of looking at where burglary rates rise dramatically around Christmas, we can instead compare the actual, underlying burglary rates by borough. The results show that the boroughs of Sutton, Bexley and Kingston upon Thames have the lowest burglary rates in London over the November through January time period, with 4 or fewer homes burgled per 10,000 people. (It is interesting that while Bexley exhibits one of the lowest actual Christmas burglary rates at 4 burglaries/10,000 residents, it experiences one of the largest percentage increases, or surges, in burglaries at Christmas with a 38% rise. This is because Bexley normally has lowest rate the rest of the year.) Residents of Haringey, Barnet and Redbridge suffer the worst winter burglary rates, with more than 7.5 burglaries per 10,000.

As we enter the Christmas period, now may be the time for the millions of Brits with no contents insurance to buy a policy, which would partially cover the cost of theft from the home. According to the Association of British Insurer's, the average annual premium paid for contents insurance in Q1 2017 was £135, or only 37p per day.

See the table below to find where your borough ranks.

London Boroughs Ranked by Best to Worst Christmas Burglary Rates

Rank (1 = Lowest Xmas burglary Rate, 32 = Highest)BoroughNov - Jan Burglary Rate (Average Monthly Burglaries per 10,000 Residents)
1Sutton3.70
2Bexley4.00
3Kingston upon Thames4.03
4Tower Hamlets4.10
5Richmond upon Thames4.56
6Hackney4.60
7Wandsworth4.68
8Greenwich4.74
9Southwark5.04
10Newham5.06
11Islington5.10
12Kensington and Chelsea5.24
13Westminster5.34
14Merton5.51
15Bromley5.66
16Hounslow5.70
17Croydon5.91
18Hammersmith and Fulham5.96
19Camden6.06
20Lambeth6.07
21Lewisham6.23
22Waltham Forest6.49
23Ealing6.54
24Hillingdon6.74
25Barking and Dagenham6.74
26Havering6.81
27Enfield7.00
28Harrow7.09
29Brent7.24
30Haringey7.62
31Barnet7.71
32Redbridge8.39

In addition to securing contents insurance, you can also follow these quick tips to Keep Your Home Safe from Burglars Over the Holidays.

Methodology

We analysed the most recent data (April 2010 to October 2017) from the Metropolitan Police's Crime Data Dashboard, on residential burglaries for all London boroughs.

To illustrate how the rate of home burglaries increases around the holidays, we first calculated average monthly burglary rates for each borough, taking into account data over the 2010 to 2017 time period. Since we noticed a surge in burglaries in November, December and January, we then found the average burglary rate over this sensitive 3-month period, calculating how much higher (in % terms) the average "Christmas" rate is to the average rate for months February through October. This percentage showed up the surge in burglaries in the winter compared to the rest of the year.

Finally, we ranked the boroughs according to their burglary rate per 10,000 people over the November to January time period, to see which boroughs have the lowest and highest likelihood of home burglaries.