Housebreaking and the Coronavirus Pandemic

housebreaking in Edinburgh

2020 has been a very difficult year. With the death toll still rising, the social impact has been huge on the whole country. Businesses have suffered too with many people out of work, forced into reduced working hours or furloughed.  As an Edinburgh locksmith, this year has been a tough one, but I thought it would try and share a small glimmer of good news amongst all the bad.

Some good news

All reported crimes are bad news however, the most recent Scottish Crime Statistics for 2019-2020, published at the end of September 2020, shared some good news. It reported a 3% reduction in crimes of dishonesty compared to 2018-2019. This is the lowest number recorded since 1971

Crimes of dishonesty include such things as theft, robbery, burglary, money laundering, handling stolen goods etc.  The top 3 categories for crimes of dishonesty for the period 2019-2020 were

  1. Other
  2. Shoplifting
  3. Housebreaking

In total there were 111,409 crimes of dishonesty recorded. This accounted for 45% of all crime recorded in Scotland. Housebreaking accounted for roughly 12% of all crimes of dishonesty (12903 instances).

Reason for fall in housebreaking

It would be lovely to think that burglars have moved on or found different employment and that’s why this type of crime has fallen. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case. The reason is probably much more straight forward.

Contrary to popular belief, most burglaries do not occur at night. Most intruders don’t want to bump into anyone when they are searching for valuables in a house. The most common time for a burglary to take place is estimated to be between 10am and 3pm. This is when the likelihood of the property being empty is highest because people are at work etc.

This year was of course very different due to the coronavirus pandemic. We had 12 weeks of full lockdown, followed by an easing of restrictions over the summer, followed by a move to a tiered system. Everyone was and still is encouraged to work from home where possible. This has meant that homes are “not as empty” during peak burglary hours. This has without a doubt been the main factor in the reduction in burglaries in Edinburgh (and indeed Scotland as a whole).

What next as we exit the pandemic

Unfortunately, pre-pandemic, Edinburgh had the unenviable reputation as the capital of burglaries. With changing social and economic factors playing a big part, many commentators are predicting a significant upsurge in crimes of dishonesty as we move back towards a more normal life. Sadly Edinburgh will not be immune to this.

Given the possibility of increased burglary and opportunity theft, now would be a good time to review your home security. Are all your locks in good condition? Should you consider upgrading to approved high-security locks (BS 3621)? Finding areas of weakness in your home security and getting them fixed, is essential to ensure that your home is not a number recorded in next year’s crime statistics.


Hero Locksmith is a trusted local Edinburgh locksmith. If you need help with your locks, please get in touch or give Richard a call on 0131 353 0040