52% of Britons are more afraid of crime than they were 10 years ago – But why?

52% of Britons are more afraid of crime than they were 10 years ago – But why?

  • Britons aged between 55 and 64 are the most concerned about crime
  • Figures show that overall crime rates are actually falling
  • 1 in 4 people have taken matters into their own hands by installing CCTV
  • Expert Security UK urges people to be vigilant but not to succumb to scaremongering in the media
52% of Britons have admitted that they are now more concerned about the threat of crime than they were 10 years ago. This is according to research conducted by security systems specialists Expert Security UK, who found that despite a statistical drop in crime in recent years, many people are increasingly worried. The survey confirmed that older generations are the most wary of wrongdoing, with the 55 to 64-year-old category found to be the most on edge. Indeed, more than two-thirds (68%) of this group said they are more concerned about crime in 2016 than they were a decade ago. On the flipside, the 25 to 34-year-old group are the least perturbed by crime, with a comparatively small 39% stating that they are more afraid now. The company ran the survey shortly after the Mail on Sunday published details of the new ‘National Crime Index’ - a controversial scale used to determine the severity of crimes and how they should be prioritised by police forces. Crimes like “aggravated burglary” and “house burglary” were ranked higher than offences such as “child abduction”. Critics have argued that ordering certain crimes is counterproductive, while some have pointed out that offences like fraud have been omitted altogether.

Why are we more afraid?

Danny Scholfield, Sales and Marketing Director at Expert Security UK, offered one theory as to why so many people are more concerned about becoming a victim of crime than they were 10 years ago. “Increased media exposure certainly has a big part to play. The rapid emergence of social media has resulted in 24/7 reporting, with the impacts of crime being amplified,” he commented. “Not so long ago, certain crimes would have gone unreported or would have flown under the radar because of a lack of media coverage. In 2016, everyone has smartphones and are able to report on developing situations live. While this is a good thing on the one hand, it does make it seem like more crimes are happening, whereas the statistics suggest otherwise.”

Are crime rates actually increasing?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, as there are lots of variables. According to the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, the number of incidents against adults in the year ending March 2016 totalled 6.3 million. This was a sizable drop from 6.8 million in the previous year. However, the same report highlighted a 10% rise in offences involving knives and a 4% upturn in gun crime. There was also a substantial increase in robberies, although the Office for National Statistics pointed out that this was due to an unusually low rate last year. Despite the recent rise, the current number of robbery incidents is 49% lower than in 2006. The latter goes to show that although more than half of Britons are more concerned about crime than they were in 2006, the frequency of incidents, in a lot of cases, is in decline.

Are we doing enough to protect ourselves?

Whether our enhanced fear of crime is justified or not, it seems that lots of people are taking a proactive approach to protecting themselves. A second survey undertaken by Expert Security UK asked whether or not people had installed CCTV in their properties in order to ward off potential criminals. A surprisingly high 25% of people said they had deployed cameras to protect their premises. The over-65s were the most likely to use CCTV (31% of respondents in this age bracket had installed it). After this, it seemed to be the younger generations that were the biggest advocates of surveillance cameras, with 29% of 35 to 44-year-olds and 28% of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they have been using CCTV. The 55-64 category were the least receptive to CCTV (only 15% had installed it in their homes). This is interesting given that the first survey revealed that this demographic were the most concerned about crime. Danny Scholfield added that while it’s important that people don’t live in fear, it’s encouraging to see so many UK residents taking measures to protect themselves. “Whether crime rates are falling or not, it’s still important that we remain vigilant. There’s a fine line between the ‘Big Brother Effect’ and being proactive in your attempts to prevent crime. Having security measures in place can give you real peace of mind,” he remarked. From CCTV to driveway bollards, there's plenty you can do to improve your overall home security to give you more peace of mind, especially when protecting your vehicles.

Are businesses adequately protected?

Official figures show that businesses continue to face an uphill battle to ward off criminals, despite an overall drop in offences. The retail sector tends to bear the brunt of things, with 4.7 million crimes being committed against companies within this industry in 2015. Although this figure was significantly lower than in 2012 (7.7 million), it’s still stubbornly high. We’ve recently discussed the growing threat of terrorism and how businesses can prepare themselves. The flurry of attacks in Europe and the US in the past year have certainly heightened people’s concerns (it would have been interesting to see how our survey results came back had we ran the poll this time last year instead). Again, while there’s an element of scaremongering in media outlets, Danny Scholfield believes that businesses equally shouldn’t bury their heads in the sand. “There’s no harm in being prepared. For a lot of business owners, terror-proofing is a relatively new concept and so it’s understandable that they’re not sure of exactly what they need to do to protect themselves. That’s why we created a handy guide to give these people a solid starting point.” Remember - security measures and procedures that work for one business might not be right for you. Nevertheless, our guide to terror protection will certainly set you off in the right direction.