This overview chapter covers police recorded property crime, property crime recorded by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and property crimes covered in the Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS). It discusses some of the data contained within the Nature of Crime tables published alongside this release. It also presents the likelihood of being a victim of separate property crimes by demographic breakdowns.
Property crime covers a range of criminal activities where the aim is to acquire property by illegal means or to cause damage to property. It includes offences of burglary, vehicle-related thefts, robbery and other personal thefts, fraud and vandalism.
Property crime is an important driver of overall crime, accounting for 72% of all police recorded crime and 80% of all incidents measured by the CSEW. The 2012 CVS shows that the majority of crimes against selected business sectors were property related (91%).
The CSEW shows substantial falls in property crime, with levels having fallen by half since they peaked in the mid-1990’s. These falls were driven by large reductions in high volume crimes such as vandalism, vehicle-related theft and burglary.
While the high volume categories continue to show falls, some other CSEW crimes such as other household theft have shown an underlying upward trend over the past 5 years. However, the latest estimate is 6% lower than the 2011/12 CSEW.
More recent trends in theft from the person (which includes pick pocketing and snatch theft) recorded by the police show an upward trend between 2009/10 and 2012/13. This is thought to be in part driven by theft of smart phones and other valuable mobile technology.
Theft from the person and bicycle theft make up a higher proportion of property crime in the 2012/13 survey (8% and 7% respectively) than in 1995 (both 4%). This change can be attributed to the fall in vehicle related theft between these two dates and that bike theft and theft from the person have not seen the same level of reduction as other high volume crimes.
In the 2012/13 CSEW the most commonly stolen item in incidents of theft from the person, burglary, and other household theft were purses/wallets. Cash/foreign currency was the most commonly stolen item in incidents of robbery and in those classified as 'other theft of personal property'. Mobile phones were also commonly stolen in incidents of theft from the person and robbery.
Characteristics that contributed to explaining the likelihood of being a victim of crime varied by the type of property crime. For example, for vehicle related thefts and theft from the person younger people were more likely to have been victims. Households in urban areas were more likely to be victims of burglary than those in rural areas.
Property crime is defined as incidents where individuals, households or corporate bodies are deprived of their property by illegal means or where their property is damaged. It includes offences of burglary, offences against vehicles (which include theft of vehicles or property from vehicles), theft offences, fraud, forgery and criminal damage. For the purposes of this report, robbery1 is also included as a property crime though it recorded in its own standalone category in the headline statistics published quarterly.
Since the last ‘Focus on: Property Crime’ publication there has been a re-classification of some elements of the police recorded crime data series. These changes do not affect the coverage of offences in the police recorded crime series, and are restricted to movement of offences across categories. As part of the re-classification work, theft from the person, bicycle theft and shoplifting are no longer included in the residual theft classification of ‘Other theft offences’ and are now presented separately. Thus breakdowns of offences shown within this bulletin or in the associated tables will differ from those published previously. Further detail of the changes can be found in the: Methodological note: Presentational changes to National Statistics on police recorded crime in England and Wales.
This ‘Focus on: Property crime’ release presents crime statistics from three different sources: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), police recorded crime and the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS).
Police recorded crime includes notifiable offences that have been reported to and recorded by the police. Police recorded crime figures are supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police, via the Home Office to ONS. The coverage of police recorded crime statistics is defined by the Notifiable Offence List2, which includes a broad range of offences, from murder to minor criminal damage, theft and public order offences.
The CSEW covers crimes against the population of England and Wales resident in households, and crimes against those households, but does not include crimes against the commercial or business sector or the population who are not resident in households, such as tourists or visitors.The CSEW covers a narrower range of offences than those included in the police recorded crime collection, but reported volumes are higher as the survey is able to capture all offences experienced by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to and recorded by the police. In 2009 the CSEW was extended to cover children aged 10 to 15, and, where appropriate, data are included for this age group.
The 2012 CVS is a nationally representative sample of business premises in four sectors (manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transportation and storage and accommodation and food). In this overview results from the 2012 CVS are discussed, the 2013 CVS is currently in the field and results are due to be published early 2014.
Property crime accounted for 72% (or around 2,674,000 offences) of all police recorded crime in 2012/13 and 80% (an estimated 6,933,000 incidents) of all crime measured by the 2012/13 CSEW. Of the crimes measured by the 2012 CVS, 91% (an estimated 8,365,000 offences) were property related (see Crime against businesses: headline findings from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey for more information). The consistently high proportion of offences accounted for by property crime means that these types of crimes, in particular the high volume ones such as vehicle-related theft, vandalism and burglary, are important in driving overall crime trends.
The largest component of property crime in the 2012/13 CSEW was vandalism (25%). Other components that make up CSEW property crime include; ‘other’ household theft (that is, theft outside a dwelling and theft in a dwelling by someone entitled to be there; 19%), vehicle-related theft (15%) and ‘other’ theft of personal property (theft of unattended property; 14%). For a full breakdown of CSEW property crime, see Figure 1.1.
The largest component of property crime in 1995 was vehicle-related theft, which made up 28% of CSEW property crime. Other components include vandalism (22%), other household theft (15%) and other theft of personal property (14%). For a full breakdown see Figure 1.1. Comparing the composition of CSEW property crime in 1995 to the 2012/13 survey the most noticeable difference is in vehicle related theft, which made up 28% of property crime in 1995 and 15% of property crime in the 2012/13 survey. Vandalism makes up a similar proportion in 1995 (22%) to the 2012/13 survey (25%). Theft from the person and bicycle theft make up a higher proportion of property crime in the 2012/13 survey (8% and 7% respectively) than in 1995 (both 4%). This change can be attributed to the fall in high volume crimes such as; vehicle related theft and vandalism between these two dates.
Criminal damage and the category ‘all other theft offences’ were the largest components of police recorded property crime (both 19%) in 2012/13. Burglary and offences against vehicles together made up approximately a third of police recorded property crime (17% and 15% respectively). Theft from the person (4%), bike theft (4%) and robbery (2%) collectively accounted for a small proportion of all police recorded property crime. For a full breakdown of police recorded property crime, see Figure 1.2.
The largest component of police recorded property crime in 2002/03 was vehicle related theft (23%), other large components include criminal damage (22%), burglary (19%) and ‘all other theft offences’ (16%). For a full breakdown see figure 1.2. Comparing the composition of police recorded property crime in 2002/03 to 2012/13 the most noticeable difference is in vehicle related theft, which made up 23% of property crime in 2002/03 and 15% of property crime in 2012/13. Shoplifting made up a much larger proportion of property crime in 2012/13 (11%) than in 2002/03 (6%).
The CSEW covers crimes against households and people resident in those households in England and Wales. It comprises a narrower range of offences included in the police recorded crime collection (with necessary exclusions from its main count of crime, for example, crimes against businesses), but reported volumes are higher as the survey is able to capture all offences experienced by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to, and subsequently recorded by, the police.
The long-term trend in CSEW property crime is consistent with the long-term trend in total CSEW crime, having shown steady increases from 1981 when the survey started, peaking in 1995, followed by steady declines since that peak. Levels observed in the 2012/13 CSEW have fallen by 55% since 1995 (Figure 1.3). This trend is consistent with that seen in many other countries (Tseloni et al., 2010). The proportion of all CSEW crime accounted for by property crime has remained relatively stable over time, fluctuating slightly between 82% and 85% in the early years of the survey (pre-1995) and remaining between 80% and 82% since 1995, when crime was at it’s peak.
Figure 1.4 shows the long term trends for CSEW burglary, vehicle related theft and vandalism. These three crimes show a similar trend to overall CSEW property crime with levels peaking in 1993, followed by a general decline from 1993 to the 2012/13 CSEW. The exception to this is vandalism which showed increases between the 2003/04 CSEW and the 2006/07 CSEW, after which the number of incidents has fallen.
Figure 1.5 shows the long term trends in CSEW other theft from 1981 to 2012/13. These crimes do not follow the same trend as overall CSEW property crime (Figure 1.3). The trend for the individual categories within CSEW other theft show levels peaking in the mid 1990s; since then excluding some fluctuations, levels of other household theft and other theft of personal property fell steadily until 2007/08. CSEW estimates indicate there has been an underlying upward trend in ‘other household theft’, which has increased by 25% between the 2007/08 and 2012/13 surveys. However, this rise has not continued in the latest estimate from the 2012/13 survey, which is 6% lower than the 2011/12 CSEW. It is too early to say whether this indicates a levelling off of the upward trend.
Police recorded crime includes notifiable offences that have been reported to and recorded by the police. There have been two major changes in the recording of crimes in recent years; i) in 1998 the Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime were expanded to include additional summary offences, and counts became more victim-based, and ii) in April 2002 the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced across England and Wales to ensure greater consistency between forces in recording crime. Although property crime was less affected by these changes (and broad comparisons indicate a similar trend to CSEW incidents), police recorded crime figures cannot be compared back beyond 2002/03 and therefore trends are only shown from this date.
As with crime measured by the CSEW, the trend in police recorded property crime is similar to the trend for all police recorded crime (Figure 1.6). Since 2002/03, property crime has shown year-on-year falls and it was 45% lower in volume in 2012/13 than in 2002/03. This represents a faster rate of reduction than overall police recorded crime which fell by 38% over the same period. Thus, the proportion of total police recorded crime accounted for by property crime1 has decreased by 9 percentage points; from 81% in 2002/03 to 72% in 2012/13. Reflecting this change, the relative contribution of other crime types have increased slightly over this period; the two biggest being, violent crime and drug offences; both with an increase of 4 percentage points.
In 2012/13, ‘all other theft offences’; which comprises mainly of theft of unattended property (known as ‘Other theft’) showed a 13% decrease compared with the previous year. This is in contrast with a recent upward trend recorded by the police between 2009/10 and 2011/12, which followed a longer downward trend between 2003/04 and 2009/10 (Figure 1.7). This ‘Other theft’ sub-category includes crimes against organisations which are not covered by the CSEW, such as theft of metal or industrial equipment. However, it is not possible to identify these specific types of theft in centrally held police recorded crime data. For more information on metal theft see the metal theft section of this overview.
Theft from the person began rising in 2009/10 and continued to do so each year since (figure 1.7). It is thought that this may be due to people carrying more valuable items on their person than previously such as more advanced smartphones and tablet computers which attract high value in the stolen goods market. The number of shoplifting offences decreased by 2% in 2012/13 compared with 2011/12, however the long term trend for shoplifting has remained fairly flat since 2002/03. The Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) provides a better estimate of shoplifting than police recorded crime. See the CVS section of this overview for more information.
The reduction in property crime has been an important factor in driving falls in overall crime. There is broad support for the view that increased quantity and quality of household and vehicle security has been an important factor in the reduction in property crime, and as a result overall crime levels. However, improved home and vehicle security only directly impact on the property crimes of burglary and vehicle-related theft offences and there are a range of other hypotheses put forward to explain the reduction in property crime. These are discussed in further detail in the overview of Focus on Property Crime 2011/12. For further discussion on the trends in property crime, see Trends in crime – a short story 2011/12.
The CSEW provides estimates of victimisation rates for the crimes that it covers, and these vary by property crime type (Figure 1.8). Among households interviewed in the 2012/13 CSEW, 5.0% had experienced vandalism, 4.6% of vehicle-owning households had experienced vehicle-related theft, 3.3% of bicycle owning households had a bicycle stolen and 2.1% of households had been a victim of burglary. Among adults aged 16 and over, 1.1% had been a victim of theft from the person in the previous 12 months and 0.4% had been a victim of robbery. Some 6.8% of children aged 10-151 had been a victim of personal theft2 and 1.0% had been a victim of vandalism to personal property.
Comparing victimisation rates in 1995 (when crime was at the peak) to the 2012/13 CSEW, the most noticeable difference is in vehicle related theft which has decreased from 19.7% of vehicle-owning households experiencing a vehicle related theft in 1995 to 4.6% in the 2012/13 CSEW (figure 1.8). Vandalism has also shown a large decrease from 10.1% of households experiencing vandalism in 1995 to 5.0% in the 2012/13 CSEW, while burglary victimisation fell from 6.4% in 1995 to 2.1% in the 2012/13 CSEW. Personal crimes such as theft from the person have shown small decreases from 1.6% in 1995 to 1.1% in the 2012/13 survey. For a full breakdown of victimisation rates by property crime type see figure 1.8.
Among households interviewed in the 2012/13 CSEW, 2.1% had experienced one or more burglaries in the previous 12 months. This proportion varied by household characteristics (See Appendix table 1.01 (448 Kb Excel sheet) ).
Households in urban areas (2.4%) were twice as likely to be a victim of burglary than households in rural areas (1.1%).
Private (2.8%) and social renters (3.1%) were more likely to be victims of burglary than households who owned their property (1.6%). This compares with substantially higher victimisation rates in 1995, when 7.4% and 9.0% of private and social renters and 5.3% of home owners were victims.
Houses and flats/maisonettes had a similar likelihood of being burgled (2.0% and 2.5% respectively). However detached houses were less likely to be burgled (1.4%) than terraced houses (2.7%) or semi-detached houses (1.9%).
A full breakdown of the likelihood of being a victim of burglary by household characteristics is shown in
Appendix table 1.01 (448 Kb Excel sheet)
. According to the 2012/13 CSEW one of the factors associated with the risk of being a victim of burglary was the level of home security. For more information on the risk of victimisation and home security see the burglary and home security section of this release. Many of the characteristics will be closely associated, so caution is needed in the interpretation of the effect of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation.
According to the 2012/13 CSEW 4.6% of vehicle owning households has been a victim of vehicle related theft in the previous 12 months. This proportion varied by household characteristics ( See Appendix table 1.02 (448 Kb Excel sheet) ).
Households who owned three or more cars were most likely to have been a victim of vehicle related theft (6.7%) compared with households owning two cars (5.5%) or a single car (3.7%).
Households where the household reference person (HRP) was aged between 16 and 24 were most likely to be a victim of vehicle-related theft (7.3%). This victimisation decreased by age, for example 5.5% where the HRP was aged 45-54 and 1.2% where the HRP was aged 75+.
A full breakdown of the likelihood of being a victim of vehicle related theft by household characteristics is shown in Appendix table 1.02 (448 Kb Excel sheet) . Many of the characteristics will be closely associated, so caution is needed in the interpretation of the effect of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation.
The 2012/13 CSEW estimated that 5.0% of households experienced some form of vandalism in the previous 12 months (4.7% of vehicle owning households had experienced vehicle vandalism and 1.5% of all households experienced vandalism to the home or other property). The proportion of households that were a victim of vandalism in the last 12 months varied by household characteristics (see Appendix table 1.04 (448 Kb Excel sheet) ).
Households with three of more cars (7.3%) were more likely to have been a victim of vandalism than households with two (5.9%), one (5.7%) or no cars (2.2%). That households with at least one car are more likely to be vandalised is perhaps not surprising given, that around two-thirds of vandalism incidents were vehicle-related.
Households living in terraced houses were more likely to have been victims of vandalism (6.4%) compared to those living in semi-detached (4.5%) or detached houses (4.0%).
A full breakdown of the likelihood of being a victim of burglary by household characteristics is shown in Appendix table 1.04 (448 Kb Excel sheet) . Many of the characteristics will be closely associated, so caution is needed in the interpretation of the effect of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation.
In 2012/13 the CSEW estimated that 1.1% of adults had been a victim of theft from the person in the previous 12 months. This victimisation rate varies by personal characteristics (see Appendix table 1.03 (448 Kb Excel sheet) ).
Women (1.3%) were slightly more likely to be a victim of theft from the person than men (0.9%).
Adults aged 16-24 were most likely to be a victim of theft from the person (2.6%).
Students are most likely to be a victim of theft from the person (3.4%) compared with respondents in employment (1.2%) and unemployed (1.2%).
A full breakdown of the likelihood of being a victim of burglary by household characteristics is shown in Appendix table 1.03 (448 Kb Excel sheet) . Many of the characteristics will be closely associated, so caution is needed in the interpretation of the effect of these different characteristics when viewed in isolation.
The motive for most types of property crime is to steal. It is possible to analyse which items are commonly stolen in different types of property crime using data from the CSEW. Table 1.1 shows the items most commonly stolen in different types of property crime where a theft was involved.
According to the 2012/13 survey, in 68% of burglaries with entry, something was stolen. Purses/wallets/money were the items most commonly stolen in incidents of burglary (44%) and theft in a dwelling (45%). Computers/computer equipment were the second most commonly stolen items in incidents of burglary (35%) and jewellery was the second most commonly stolen item in incidents of theft in a dwelling (22%).
The 2012/13 survey found that cash/foreign currency were the most commonly stolen items in incidents of robbery (47%) and theft from the person (53%); for example pick pocketing. Mobile phones were stolen in 44% of incidents of robbery and 40% of incidents of theft from the person (see Nature of Crime tables).
Since the 2007/08 CSEW the two most commonly stolen items in incidents of robbery has been mobile phones and cash/foreign currency (data not shown). Since 2003/04 the two most commonly stolen items in incidents of theft from the person has been purses/wallets and cash/foreign currency, with the exception of 2011/12 where the most commonly stolen item was mobile phones (Nature of Crime tables). Since the 2003/04 CSEW purses/wallets have been the most commonly stolen item in incidents of burglary apart from in the 2011/12 CSEW where computers were the most commonly stolen item (Nature of Crime tables).
Results from the 2012/13 CSEW showed that in incidents of theft from a vehicle, the items most commonly stolen were exterior fittings (for example, hub caps, wheel trims, number plates; stolen in 36% of theft from vehicle incidents). Valuables, including jewellery, handbags, wallets and money were the next most common item stolen (19%) followed by electrical equipment, including satellite navigation systems and computer equipment (16%). A lower proportion of car radios, CDs, tapes and DVDs were stolen in the 2012/13 survey compared with the 2003/04 survey1. According to the 2003/04 CSEW, car radios were stolen in 22% of incidents of theft from vehicles and CDs, tapes and DVD’s were stolen in 12% of incidents, this being considerably higher than in the 2012/13 survey where both car radios and CDs, tapes and DVDs were stolen in 5% of incidents. This reflects the changing value of such goods and of the emergence of new consumer electronics, mobile telephony and computing which have become more attractive to criminals.
|Property crime type||Item most commonly stolen||Proportion of incidents where item was stolen (%)|
|Burglary with entry (where item was stolen)||Purse/wallet/money||44|
|Burglary to non-connected building (where item was stolen)||Tools/work materials||37|
|Theft in a dwelling||Purse/wallet/money||45|
|Theft outside a dwelling||Garden furniture||44|
|All other household theft||Garden furniture||39|
|Theft from a vehicle||Exterior fittings||36|
|Theft from the person||Cash/foreign currency||53|
|Other theft of personal property||Cash/foreign currency||28|
|Thefts experienced by children (where item was stolen)||Mobile phone||20|
The 2012/13 survey showed that mobile phones were the most commonly stolen items in incidents of theft experienced by children aged 10-15 (stolen in 20% of incidents). Clothing was the second most commonly stolen item, stolen in 17% of incidents and cash/foreign currency was stolen in 15% of incidents (Nature of Crime tables).
Metal theft refers to thefts of items for the value of their constituent metals, rather than the acquisition of the item itself. Metal theft is not a crime defined by law, but is recorded by police under a broader offence classification of ‘other theft’ which is a sub-category of ‘all other theft offences’. Anecdotal evidence1 suggests that metal theft has been an important driver of trends in the police recorded crime category ‘Other theft’ (which covers offences involving theft of unattended property, including those from commercial premises) over recent years. The number of ’other theft’ offences recorded by the police showed notable increases between 2009/10 and 2011/12. However, more recently the number of these offences has been falling, and the number recorded in 2012/13 was 15% lower than 2011/12 (see Crime in England and Wales, Year ending March 2013)
A separate data collection on theft offences involving metal theft recorded by the police during 2012/13 has been conducted by the Home Office and data have been released as experimental statistics (See Metal theft offences, England and Wales 2012 to 2013. The key findings from these statistics are summarised below.
There were 61,349 offences involving metal theft recorded by police in England and Wales between April 2012 and March 2013 (accounting to 3% of all police recorded theft), of which:
28,843 (47%) were infrastructure-related offences
25,869 (42%) were non-infrastructure-related offences
6,637 (11%) were not classified2
Infrastructure-related metal thefts are defined as ‘The removal of metal that has a direct impact on the functioning of infrastructure and/or fabric of a building or machinery. This includes all metals that are connected to live services such as: water, heating, electricity, telephone cabling, other service cabling and railway cabling (for example; copper cabling in railway signals), roofing lead (for example; on churches), a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle and manhole covers’.
Non-infrastructure-related metal thefts are defined as ‘The removal of metal that has no direct impact on the functioning of infrastructure and/or fabric of a building or machinery. This includes metal that is not connected to services, redundant metal, war memorial plaques, and metal gates/fencing’.
Victims of CSEW property crime are asked about the circumstances of the incident, including when it happened. The 2012/13 CSEW showed that property crimes happened mostly in the evening or night (ranging from 59% to 78% of incidents depending on the property crime type) (table 1.2). Exceptions to this general pattern were theft from the person and other theft of personal property which were more likely to happen in the daytime (62% and 57% of incidents respectively). As might be expected, the majority of thefts experienced by children aged 10 to 15 took place during daylight hours (88%). See Nature of crime tables for more information.
Looking at days of the week on which offences take place, the timing of victimisation is similar across burglary, vehicle related theft, bicycle theft, all other household theft and other theft of personal property where the likelihood of being a victim was slightly higher during a week day compared with a weekend day. Across these crime types between 66% and 72% of incidents occurred during the week (this is equivalent to between 15% and 16% per week day1) and between 28% and 34% of these incidents occurred during the weekend (this is equivalent to between 11% and 14% per weekend day2).
Offences of theft from the person, vandalism and robbery showed a different pattern with the likelihood of being a victim being slightly higher during a weekend day compared with a week day.
Across these crime types between 59% and 62% of incidents occurred during the week (this is equivalent to between 13% and 14% per week day9) and between 38% and 41% of incidents occurred during the weekend (this is equivalent to between 15% and 17% per weekend day10).
|Timing||Burglary||Vehicle Theft||Other household theft||Other theft of personal property||Bicycle Theft||Theft from the person||Vandalism||Robbery||Thefts against Childen aged 10-15|
|During the week||72||67||71||66||71||59||59||62||85|
|At the weekend2||28||33||29||34||29||41||41||38||15|
In the 2012/13 CSEW, 85% of incidents of theft against children aged 10-15 occurred during the week (equivalent to 19% per week day8) and 15% of incidents occurred during the weekend (equivalent to 6% per day9). This means that the likelihood of a child aged 10-15 being a victim of theft is much higher during the week and reflects the fact that a large proportion of incidents occurred in and around school (60%).
Analysis of police recorded crime data also shows that seasonal patterns exist across most types of property crime, whereby levels of crime showed consistent peaks or troughs during particular months of the year. For example, 'Other theft' offences (which involve theft of unattended property) showed a higher than average number of crimes recorded in the summer months, while there were lower than average number in the winter months. By contrast, for robbery of business property there were a higher than average number of offences in the winter months and a lower than average number of offences in the summer. It should be noted that seasonal patterns should not affect the interpretation of data presented in this statistical bulletin. The use of full year on year comparisons of police recorded crime data presented means that the effects of any seasonal patterns are diluted since the two years being compared should both contain any recurrent seasonal peaks or troughs. For further details see 'Seasonality in police recorded property crime'
In the 2012/13 CSEW incidents of vehicle theft, bicycle theft and vehicle vandalism most often occurred at the victim’s home; (72%, 69% and 72% respectively) (Table 1.3). Looking specifically at vehicle theft, 37% of incidents occurred in the street at home. Bicycle theft was most likely to occur in a semi-private location1 near the victim’s home (53% of bike theft incidents), while vehicle vandalism was most likely to occur in the street at the victim’s home (52% of incidents) Nature of Crime tables.
|Location of incident||All vehicle theft||Bicycle theft||Vehicle vandalism|
Figure 1.9 shows reporting rates by property crime type from the 2012/13 CSEW. Incidents of theft of a vehicle were most likely to be reported to the police (91% of incidents), which has been the case since the survey began in 1981, followed by burglary with loss (85% of incidents). The high reporting rates of theft of a vehicle and burglary are likely to reflect the need for a crime reference number in order to claim on an insurance policy. It could also reflect the higher severity of these crimes (figure 1.9). Other theft of personal property, vandalism and other household theft were least likely to be reported, as in previous rounds of the survey.
According to the 2012/13 CSEW in 46% of incidents of burglary the victim was able to say something about the offender. In 57% of these incidents the offender was known to the victim ( equivalent to 26% of all burglary incidents) (Nature of Crime tables). In 83% of incidents of burglary where the victim was able to say something about the offender, the offender was male, in 9% of incidents the offender was female and in 8% of incidents there were offenders of both sexes. In 55% of incidents of burglary someone was at home, and in 45% of incidents no one was at home at the time it happened. Of those incidents where someone was at home, aware and saw the offender, force or violence was either threatened or used in just over half (54%) of cases (equivalent to 15% of all burglary incidents) (Nature of Crime tables).
According to the 2012/13 CSEW, in 25% of vandalism incidents the victim was able to say something about the offender. In 35% of these incidents the offender was aged under 16, and in 41% of incidents the offender was aged 16-24 (Nature of Crime tables).
In 2012/13 in 48% of thefts against children aged 10-15 the victim was able to say something about the offender (for example; the age, sex or number of offenders). In 50% of incidents the offender was a pupil at the victim’s school and in 33% of incidents the offender was a friend (including boy/girlfriend) of the victim (Nature of Crime tables).
Property crime does not generally result in physical injury to the victim1. One possible exception to this being robbery. However, the emotional impact can still be considerable for victims. Figure 1.10 shows that victims of burglary were the most likely to say that they had been very emotionally affected by the crime (27% of victims), which could reflect the invasion of personal space. In contrast, 7% of victims of theft outside a dwelling or other household theft said that they had been very emotionally affected by the incident. Theft outside a dwelling and other household theft were mainly theft of garden furniture and items stolen from outside the home and therefore less likely to be perceived as involving an invasion of privacy.
The most common types of reaction to property crimes were anger and annoyance. According to the 2012/13 CSEW, anger was the most common reaction to incidents of burglary (51%), robbery (49%), and annoyance was the most common reaction to incidents of; other theft of personal property (60%), vandalism (59%),vehicle theft (58%), theft from the person (55%), bike theft (54%) and other household theft (41%) (Nature of Crime tables).
Respondents who were victims of property crime were asked to rate the seriousness of the crime, with a score of 1 being the least serious and 20 being the most. As in previous years, and shown in Figure 1.11, theft of a vehicle, robbery and burglary were considered to be the most serious property crimes. Theft of a vehicle has a mean score of 8.6, robbery a mean score of 8.5 and burglary a mean score of 8.3. Other household theft was considered to be the least serious property crime with a mean score of 4.3.
There were an estimated 314,000 incidents of theft and 42,000 incidents of damage of personal property experienced by children aged 10 to 15, according to the 2012/13 CSEW. Around 70% of these thefts were classified as other theft of personal property (221,000 incidents) which includes thefts of property left unattended.
Logistic regression can be used to estimate how much the likelihood of victimisation is increased or reduced according to different characteristics or behaviours, taking in to account the fact that some variables may be interrelated (for example, marital status and age). Although logistic regression can be used to explore associations between variables, it does not necessarily imply causation and results should be treated as indicative rather than conclusive.
Analysis presented in this section has been carried out on the 2011/12 CSEW and has not been repeated for the 2012/13 survey. In the 2011/12 CSEW the characteristics that contributed most to explaining the likelihood of victimisation varied by property crime type. For example, the characteristic that contributed most to explaining the likelihood of being a victim of burglary was the level of home security in the household (the absence or presence of window locks and deadlocks on doors), whereas the characteristic that contributed most to being a victim of vandalism was the number of cars owned by the household (this stands to reason as the more cars a household owns, the more chance there is of the car being vandalised). Age was the characteristic that contributed most to explaining the likelihood of vehicle-related theft and theft from the person (with the likelihood of being a victim higher among younger age groups).
For a detailed description of the characteristics most associated with the likelihood of victimisation split by property crime type please see Focus on Property Crime 2011/12.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is restricted to crimes experienced by the population resident in households in England and Wales and doesn’t cover crime against commercial victims. While police recorded crime does include crimes against businesses, it does not separate these out from other crimes (other than for robbery of business property and offences of shoplifting which, by their nature, are against businesses) and only includes crimes reported to and recorded by the police.
The Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) took place in 2012, having previously run in 1994 and 2002. Work is underway on the 2013 CVS (with headline results due to be released in early 2014) and it is planned to be repeated in 2014.The first release of data examined the extent of crime against businesses premises in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transportation and storage, and accommodation and food industry sectors in England and Wales (2012 CVS).
Headline results from the 2012 CVS estimated that there were 9.2 million crimes against business in the four sectors covered by the survey (manufacturing, wholesale and retail, transportation and storage and accommodation and food) in the year prior to interview (Figure 1.12). Of the offences measured by the CVS, 91% were property related.
The vast majority of crimes (84%; 7.7 million) measured by the 2012 CVS were experienced by premises in the wholesale and retail sector. This sector was also included in the 2002 CVS, and although differences in methodology and some small differences in coverage mean that results are only broadly comparable, the general pattern appears to be that the level of crime against this sector has fallen, mirroring the falls seen amongst the household population.
The crime type most frequently experienced by wholesale and retail premises was theft by customers, which was estimated at 4.1 million crimes in 2012 (53% of all crime against the retail sector measured by the 2012 CVS) compared with 11.5 million crimes in 2002 (55% of all crime against the retail sector measured by the 2002 CVS) . Similarly, the proportion of premises experiencing this type of crime fell from 43% in the 2002 CVS to 21% in the 2012 CVS. Theft by unknown persons was the next most frequent crime experienced by the wholesale and retail sector, and estimates of these offences fell from 3.2 million incidents in 2002 to 1.8 million incidents in 2012.
The reasons for the reduction in theft by customers and theft by unknown persons (shoplifting) estimated by the 2012 CVS are likely to be the same as the reasons for the falls seen in other property crime such as burglary, theft and vandalism seen over the same period. Funding drug addiction is often cited as the most common reason for shoplifting; according to the British Retail Consortium, around 65% of shoplifters arrested test positive for drugs or say they steal to support their habit1. Therefore any decreases in drug dependency are likely to impact on levels of shoplifting. There are a number of additional theories which were discussed in further detail in Focus on Property Crime 2011/12.
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