Eleven of England’s 20 worst burglary hotspots are in Yorkshire and the Humber region, a survey of enquiries made by homeowners seeking insurance revealed.
Five Leeds postcodes, three in Bradford and addresses in Doncaster and Sheffield feature in the list, as well as parts of Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire.
The results, compiled from data supplied in more than three million enquiries for home cover quotes last year, show areas where residents are most likely to have claimed for theft or burglary on their insurance policies.
Stoke Newington in north London heads the list, followed by the BD10 postcode area, which includes the Idle area of Bradford and the village of Apperley Bridge to the north-east of the city.
But police disputed the findings and insisted they had seen a fall in reports of burglary.
Julie Fisher, head of home insurance at the price comparison website MoneySupermarket.com, which published the figures, said: “Being in a higher-risk area doesn’t necessarily mean where you live is bad or rife with crime – many thieves will target more affluent areas purely for the rewards on offer. No matter where you live there will always be an element of risk to the safety of your possessions so it is vital to have adequate home insurance in place.
“Properties classified as being in a ‘high-risk’ area – whether that be for crime, or something like flooding or subsidence – could see the price of cover affected.
“Unfortunately there is no escaping this and to make matters more complicated, there are no hard and fast rules which apply.”
The survey, now in its third year, is based on information provided by customers who visited the website to obtain a home insurance quote between December 2010 and November 2011. Customers were asked to give details of any burglary or theft claims they had made on their policies in the previous five years.
Claims were mentioned in 31 of every 1,000 enquiries for the BD10 area. Leeds postcodes LS13, LS15 and LS7 also featured in the top 10, along with BD18, which includes Saltaire and Shipley, and Doncaster postcode DN2.
Reducing the number of break-ins has been a police priority in West Yorkshire, particularly in Leeds, which was described as a “burglary capital” in 2009 by the city’s most senior judge, Peter Collier QC.
Less than a fortnight ago, another judge, Christopher Batty, said “Leeds has a very significant burglary problem, very significant indeed” as he jailed two men who raided a property in the Headingley area of the city.
Responding to the figures for the BD10 area, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, of Airedale and North Bradford police, said: “We are aware of this survey and question its findings.
“It has to be assumed that those who have taken part in it have included all burglary offences and not just homes.
“Even then total burglary reports specifically for Apperley Bridge have decreased by 44 per cent when compared with the previous 12 months.
“I also assume that there are other comparison web companies in the market place and that the combined data taken from all of these sites may present very different findings.
“My concern is that when taken out of context these reports can unnecessarily damage the confidence that local residents should feel based on the excellent reductions in crime experienced over the previous year.” In a further statement, West Yorkshire Police said it also “seriously questioned” the credibility of the survey’s findings for Leeds.
“As the people of Leeds would expect, we are working hard to combat and reduce burglary across the city,” it said.
“In terms of statistics that are accurate and representative, we have just had the lowest December figure for burglary in 16 years and looking at the last eight months of 2011 we achieved a six per cent reduction when compared to the same period in 2010. We are not resting on our laurels, though, and continuing to reduce burglary remains a key priority for us during the year ahead.”
None of the 20 postcode areas in the list are in North Yorkshire, but yesterday police warned residents living there to be alert to “2 in 1” burglars, who break into people’s homes to steal car keys before driving away in victims’ vehicles.
Acting Chief Inspector Richard Abbott, of Selby police, said officers were waiting for travelling criminals who come from outside the county to commit offences.
“I would like to remind residents to make life as difficult as possible for criminals,” he said. “Please hide all your valuables away so opportunist thieves are not tempted.
“Items such as handbags, car keys, wallets and electronic devices should be locked away or kept out of sight at night. Crooks will take any opportunity to steal, so do everything possible to reduce the chances of crime.”