Crime continues to worsen throughout the UK. In the years 2020 and 2021, there were over 267,000 reported cases of burglary. Events such as the national lockdown and restrictions on social contact improved burglary statistics in the short term. However, since the termination of these events, crime rates have begun to rise once again, increasing week by week – by March 2022, figures had increased by 16%.
The purpose of this blog is to highlight the current state of burglary throughout the West Midlands, exploring both the causes and solutions in residential and commercial contexts, so that you feel safer and better equipped to level up your smart home security systems.
Burglary in the West Midlands:
Burglar alarms Birmingham:
Of all cities across the West Midlands, Birmingham is the most dangerous. It has even claimed the title of the second most dangerous city in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland collectively. The overall crime rate in Birmingham is 137 crimes per every 1000 people. This has increased dramatically from 2016 figures, when there were only 78 reported crimes per 1000 people.
Burglar alarms Sutton Coldfield
Despite hailing the title as ‘’the safest major town in the West Midlands’’, Sutton Coldfield was the worst major town in the West Midlands for robbery, with 16 robbery crimes reported per 1000 inhabitants, and shoplifting rates of 76 crimes per 1000 residents. Although on the surface, this doesn’t seem significant compared to Birmingham figures, the crime rate has continued to increase in Sutton Coldfield – rising from 38 reported crimes per 1000 residents in 2016 to 62 crimes per 1000 residents in 2021, almost doubling in occurrences.
Burglar alarms Dudley
Dudley is the third most dangerous major town in the West Midlands. The overall crime rate in Dudley for 2021 was 131 crimes per 1000 people. This is a steep development, considering the crime rate in Dudley was 73 instances per 1000 people in 2016, once again almost doubling its figures. December 2021 was a particularly bad month for Dudley residents, as 64 crimes were reported per 1000 residents – in one month alone!
Burglar alarms Walsall
Walsall has the reputation of being the second most dangerous town in the West Midlands. The current crime rate in Walsall was 143 crimes per 1000 people in 2021. This highly contrasts with the crime rate of 88 reports per 1000 people in 2016. To put these figures into context, try and imagine that Walsall’s crime rate is currently 38% higher than that of the West Midlands as a whole, and 47% higher than the national crime rate.
Causes of residential robbery:
The main reason for the increasing burglary statistics is that, despite people spending more on their homes and home entertainment facilities since the pandemic, 28 % of UK adults say they don’t take any precautions around the home. Only 14 % of adults in the UK say they’ve installed CCTV cameras, even though 55% sleep with their windows open at night, 24% leave their doors open whilst at home, and 12% have admitted to leaving their garden gates open.
5 Solutions for residential security:
Decorating and improving your home may sound infinitely more fun than setting up proper security measures. That being said, burglars strike every 30 seconds, making your home security a top priority in these trying times. To help you get back to the fun stuff, below are some things you should do right away to better secure your home.
Secure the doors
34% of burglars come in through your front door, which is why this should be one of your first priorities. Make sure that your door frames are strong, the hinges are protected, and – if your door has a letter box, make sure that someone can’t reach through it to unlock your door. If you’ve recently moved house, then change the locks, so that previous owners do not have a set of keys for your house.
Lock your windows
Windows are another common entry point for criminals, and are often left shut but unlocked. Furthermore, manufacturer latches on windows are not always the most effective. Installing aftermarket window locks, reinforcing glass with window security film, window bars, or planting prickly bushes under first-floor windows are all strong means of bolstering your window security.
Don’t forget your garage
The garage is another entry point into your home that is gaining popularity amongst criminals. Even if they can’t access your house, you’ll likely have plenty of valuables hidden in your garage. Make sure to assess the security standards of your garage, ensuring you lock all doors, both interior, and exterior. If you have a more advanced garage, take care not to enter the security code in front of anybody, especially delivery people and neighbors.
Add security cameras
CCTV camera installations serve as both a deterrent and a means of getting justice. Security cameras are a huge deterrent for burglars, as anything they do, down to the way they walk, what they wear, and how they look, can be captured and used as evidence against them. Nowadays, home security systems are more flexible, and can be upgraded to either work on their own or as part of a smart home security system.
Lock down your Wi-Fi
One of the most overlooked security measures of the 21st century is home Wi-Fi. Humans are becoming consistently more involved with technology as time progresses, which is resulting in more and more information being shared over the internet. What many people are unaware of, is that your home wireless network is a doorway to your personal and financial information. If you use home automation, this may even leave you vulnerable to a break-in. Make sure you secure your wireless router, enable Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), install antivirus and anti-malware protection, and create strong passwords to bolster your resistance against this.
Causes of commercial crimes:
Although many people are aware of residential burglaries, many fail to consider the possibility of someone burgling their business. A total of 606,282 crimes were committed against businesses in the UK throughout 2021.
The majority are caused by the business owner failing to pay attention to detail. Many businesses keep large sums of cash in their registers, take deposits to their car, and drive the same route to the bank every day. This is far too predictable, making you an easy victim. Many burglars are aware of when there are fewer employees on shift, meaning fewer witnesses, and decide to strike when you are unlikely to be manning the front of the shop – making it an easy walk-in, walk-out situation. Many employees are not given training and are not even screened properly before they are hired! A lack of preventative measures on your building itself is another major cause, whether it be a lack of exterior lighting, a lack of visibility through windows, or poor door and window locking systems.
5 Solutions for commercial security:
No matter the industry your business is in, it is critical for all businesses to keep their access limited. Preventing the general public from accessing exclusive areas or ensuring only office staff can enter the premises are two ways in which you can effectively do this. Technological advancements have allowed businesses to better moderate this, as access control systems can now be operated with cards, fobs, and more, as opposed to the previous lock-and-key method.
Want to take your access control to the next level? Why not upgrade to biometric access control, which offers even higher levels of security and exclusivity? Biometric access controls are much more secure than a physical key, since they ensure that access is limited to a select few. They are highly expensive, so make sure you cover at least the more valuable and restricted areas of your business.
Intruder alarms provide businesses with peace of mind that their commercial property is protected even outside of business hours. Even without being activated, sounding an alarm, or alerting premises owners, intruder alarms are proven deterrents to potential burglars.
Typically, an underestimated aspect of security, lighting can be an integral component of a commercial security system. Well-lit areas are not attractive to intruders, as there is a higher chance that they will be seen or picked up by the CCTV footage. Motion-activated lights may also stop an intruder in their tracks, since they will be startled.
Despite not traditionally being included as part of a smart security system, fire systems are critical to the safety of a commercial building and its users, as well as ensuring compliance. From an effective fire detecting system and strategically placed alarms to suppression systems and escape routes, there is plenty to consider when it comes to bolstering a fire system for a commercial building. You never know the impact that escape routes, and fire alarms, could have on protecting you against an intruder.
Improving Your Home Security with Countrywide Security
Despite rising figures in crime and burglary throughout the UK, the majority of residents continue to slack in appropriately securing their properties, whether for commercial or for residential applications. Want to know how such shocking statistics came to be? Why not read our blog on ‘The History of Burglary’?
Countrywide Security has over 20 years of experience. They provide a 24-hour monitoring and fire brigade response, and are SSAIB, check trade and police approved, in addition to being committed to working hard to deliver a personal service and a high level of customer care as a family business – whether you are in the West Midlands or elsewhere in the country.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you to improve your smart home security systems, or if you have any further questions regarding the information presented throughout this blog, then please do not hesitate to get in touch! Our team would love to hear from you and would be more than happy to help.