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Homes under attack: 283 reports of criminal damage a day

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A property is damaged every five minutes in the UK, but where is the problem most prevalent?
Homes under attack: 283 reports of criminal damage a day

Police forces across England and Wales investigate 283 incidents of criminal damage to properties every day, according to Direct Line for Business.

That’s the equivalent of one every five minutes. There were over 51,500 investigations into criminal damage to properties recorded in just the first six months of 2019.

What is criminal damage?

Criminal damage includes issues such as vandalism, graffiti and even arson.

Analysis of landlord insurance claims data reveals that vandalism is the cause of a third (32 per cent) of malicious damage claims. It is not just the initial incident that poses an issue, the police highlight that once a property is damaged it is vital to have it repaired as quickly as possible as a vandalised property can attract people who might cause more damage.

The highest number of incidents of malicious damage to property in the first half of 2019 were investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service, with 6,014 cases recorded in London. This was followed by Greater Manchester Police with 5,170 cases investigated and West Yorkshire Police with 4,207.

When looking specifically at landlord insurance claims related to malicious damage, the North West came out on top, accounting for one in six of all recorded claims across the whole of the UK over the past five years.

Sarah Larkin, landlord product manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “The scale of vandalism, arson and property damage across the country is frightening. Not only are property owners faced with the cost of repairing damage, there is the emotional stress that a home has been attacked. We need the enforcement of tough penalties to discourage people from vandalising properties and ensuring those that commit these crimes feel the full force of the law.”

Malicious damage

Former and current tenants are responsible for causing damage to a property in 31 per cent of incidents.

Larkin continued: “Landlords can reduce the risk of criminals targeting their properties by installing security measures such as CCTV and motion sensor lighting. However, our analysis shows that rogue tenants are also a cause of significant damage to properties. To reduce the risk of renting a property to someone that won’t treat it responsibly, landlords should complete comprehensive checks before signing a contract.

“These checks would identify irregularities such as if an individual has any County Court Judgements against them, will confirm their current address, search for any aliases used and verify bank account details amongst other checks.”

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