One in four UK residents wouldn’t report an attempted break-in to police

More than a quarter(1) of UK residents wouldn’t report an unsuccessful break-in at their home to the police, according to new figures from Aviva.

A study into burglaries and attempted break-ins found just 63% of UK adults would report an attempted unlawful entry at their home to the police immediately. A further 10% would inform the police only at a later time, when convenient to them. This leaves 27% of the population who wouldn’t tell law enforcers.

On a less official level, two fifths of residents would tell neighbours of an attempted burglary at their home, while one in five (18%) would raise the alarm via a community social media group. However, one in 10 would do nothing at all to inform others (see table in notes to editors for further information).

Social media exposes split opinion

People are more likely to report ‘suspicious’ behaviour than experiences of an attempted burglary on social media channels. More than a quarter (28%) would post on social community groups if they saw someone acting in a questionable manner – for example, hanging around or taking photos of properties in their neighbourhood.

In fact, almost one in 10 UK adults (9%) would post details on social media if they saw someone acting suspiciously in their neighbourhood, but wouldn’t report it to the police.

However, attitudes to publicising incidents via social media are mixed. While 63% of people say they find such posts useful, 24% believe they are inappropriate, as innocent actions may be misinterpreted.

Sarah Applegate, Insight and Strategy Lead, Global General Insurance, Aviva says: “If a burglary is “unsuccessful” – in the sense that no-one has managed to break in or take belongings – people may think it’s not worth reporting to the police. But by informing the authorities, this may help them to track criminal behaviours and concentrate resources in a particular location.

“Aviva home theft claims show a 15%(2) increase during October and November when thieves have the opportunity to hide under the cover of darkness. We’d encourage people to be on their guard and to report any burglaries or attempted break-ins through the official channels and not rely solely on social media to keep people informed.”

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