Northern Ireland has reported the second-lowest crime rate in the UK for 2020 out of 43 nation-wide police forces, reporting just 1.28 crimes per 1,000 residents according to new research.
Although the City of London is the region with the lowest overall crime rate, it is classed as a commercial area – meaning Northern Ireland has the lowest residential crime rate in the UK.
Northern Ireland’s falling crime rate was due in part to a 23.4% drop in vehicle thefts, which fell from 3,319 incidents in 2019 to 2,542 in 2020.
Year-on-year crimes rates (April 2019 to April 2020) were down in all areas of the UK, except Bedfordshire. Drops of 40% or more in vehicle thefts were recorded by half of the police forces.
The research is based on figures compiled by UK CrimeStats, a leading crime data research and analysis platform that covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland and gathers data based on reported crimes from 43 police forces. Vehicle theft refers to taking items from a vehicle or stealing the vehicle.
Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, founder of Northern Ireland’s largest car insurance comparison website, CompareNI.com, comments: “It is reassuring to see Northern Ireland has the safest crime rate in a residential area and second lowest overall crime rate in the UK. However, we still have over 2,500 reported vehicle thefts annually so it’s important to be vigilant, take safety precautions and have a comprehensive insurance policy.
“As our cars become more technologically advanced, so have would-be thieves, who can now use ‘jammers’ to intercept the signal between the car and the key fob, meaning the car is left unlocked. Simple steps such as keeping your keys in a signal blocking wallet can help stop this from happening.
“Another tip is to remove the boot parcel shelf, showing there is nothing valuable worth stealing – and taking the stereo and sat nav when leaving the vehicle. These measures may seem basic, but most thieves are opportunists, so it’s best to avoid giving them an incentive. Even more old-fashioned techniques can act as a deterrent such as etching the car’s registration number onto a window and locking expensive alloys with a wheel nut.
“For those people who find themselves victims of car crime, it is important to know what to do when you arrive at the scene. Make sure to call the police and your insurers as quickly as possible, don’t touch anything at the scene and take photos if you can – many households now have CCTV which can be incredibly useful if your car is stolen from home.”
CompareNI.com is Northern Ireland’s largest insurance comparison website, helping hundreds of thousands of users every year to find competitive prices on over 60 products such as breakdown cover, van insurance and home insurance.