SOMERSET has seen an 11% rise in burglaries over the past year, a UK-wide report reveals.

A total of 1,653 burglaries took place in Somerset in 2023, that’s up 11% from the year prior. With Somerset’s population of 975,782, that translates to a crime rate of 1.7 burglaries for every 1000 people.

However, Somerset’s rise in burglary isn’t reflected across the entire Avon and Somerset Police force area, which saw a reduction of 5% in burglaries last year. The area, which includes Bristol and Bath, counted 6,217 burglaries in 2023 — that’s a crime rate of 3.5 per 1000 people.

In comparison, Dorset struggles with a high rate of burglaries at 3.6 per 1000 residents. The overall count for burglaries in the area was 2,824 in the last year, that’s a 0% change from the year prior.

Dorset is rated the 25th worst county in the country for burglary, according to the report from Churchill Support Services. Much of this will come from Bournemouth, the county’s main population hub.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “Burglary is a serious crime and can leave victims feeling vulnerable and unsafe in their own home. We recognise the significant impact these incidents can have and that is one reason why house burglaries in progress are treated as requiring immediate police attendance. 

“Over the past couple of months, we estimated we're attending around 85-90 per cent of reported residential burglaries, to ensure victims feel safe in their own home and to identify potential evidential opportunities.

"We also have a dedicated team who specialise in identifying and investigating burglary series to allow us to robustly deal with prolific offenders.

"These new crime figures promisingly show burglary rates across Avon and Somerset have reduced. While they show a rise in Somerset year-on-year, people should be reassured those statistics reveal it remains one of the lowest areas proportionally for burglaries across the country, with the national average being more than twice as high.

"Many burglaries are committed by opportunist thieves, so we encourage the public to consider how they can make their properties more secure. There are several crime prevention tools available to make homes, garages and sheds more secure. 

"People can consider installing CCTV, doorbell cameras and internal cameras to capture and deter any would-be criminals, make sure all doors and windows are securely locked, and hiding away anything valuable such as jewellery, cash, car keys and electronics. Another step is to have valuable items marked to aid in returning them if they are recovered. 

"If you have been away from your home to discover it has been broken into, do not enter your home. Call us straight away as there may be forensic evidence at the scene which could aid in our enquiries. 

"If a crime is in progress or you are in danger, please call 999. Alternatively, crimes can be reported online or on 101."

Across the UK, 281,872 burglaries were recorded last year, with a burglary rate for every 1000 citizens. The average value of items stolen during a home burglary is £2,800, with an extra £600 incurred for damage caused.

The police force of Cleveland (which now covers parts of North Yorkshire and the county of Durham) is officially the worst burglary hotspot in the UK, according to the report. It deals with an extraordinarily high burglary rate of 8.8 per 1000 people, the rate has increased by 10% since the previous year.