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Lockdown plus home-working equals bad 2020 for burglars

April 1, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has hit many people hard, not least burglars in Germany. With so many people working from home, insurance claims after house break-ins fell to an all-time low.

The silhouette of a burglar breaking into a house
Many home and apartment homeowners are now investing in better security technologyImage: picture alliance/dpa/S. Stein

The German insurance industry association GDV on Thursday said the number of claims from break-ins had fallen to the lowest level since it first compiled statistics.

Insurance claims for break-ins dropped to 85,000 in 2020 — 10,000 fewer than the year before, the GDV said in a roundup report for the year. The number was the lowest since records began in 1998.

"The fall in break-ins is largely owing to people spending so much time at home thanks to the coronavirus pandemic," GDV head Jörg Asmussen said. "Burglars often had no opportunity to commit the crime."

As a result, payments for damages fell to €230 million ($269.68 million), €70 million less than the year before. The average individual claim amount also fell by about 10%, to €2,750, the association said.

The trend of falling claims from 2019 to 2020 was recorded across all of Germany's 16 states.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, burglary numbers had been on the decline, diminishing every year since 2015. 

Many home and apartment owners are now investing in better security technology, which Asmussen explained has paid off. Almost half of all burglaries fail because the perpetrators can't get into the house fast enough, he explained.

Burglary reports had been on the increase continuously from 2008 to 2015, with the peak number of annual claims at 167,136 — about twice last year's figure.

Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.
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