Where in the UK suffers the most from jewellery thefts?
Unfortunately, jewellery is one of the most commonly targeted items by thieves and it’s not just high-profile heists like the Hatton Garden burglary either, with thousands of everyday people having pieces stolen each year too.
It’s easy to see why jewellery is so popular with thieves, usually yielding a high resale value, especially as fewer of us carry actual cash these days.
But where are the UK’s jewellery theft hotspots? To find out, we requested data from police forces around the country on how many people had reported jewellery thefts in the last three years, with 20,809 thefts with a value of at least £90 million in 2020 alone.
The UK towns and cities with the highest number of jewellery thefts last year
- 2020 jewellery thefts: 623
2020 value of items stolen: £301,652
Excluding London, it was actually Nottingham in the East Midlands which experienced the most jewellery thefts in the last year, with 623. Interestingly, the number of thefts in Nottingham have actually dropped considerably since 2018 and 2019, yet the city still had more than any other outside of the capital. Over £300,000 worth of jewellery was stolen in the last year, which actually pales in comparison to the figure for the city in 2018, which was just under £6 million!
2020 jewellery thefts: 591
2020 value of items stolen: £1,005,013
In second place, with 591 thefts, was Leeds, West Yorkshire. While not all forces were able to provide us with the total value of items stolen in their area, of those that did, it was Leeds which had the highest, with just over £1 million worth of items stolen in the last year. Like Nottingham, jewellery thefts have actually declined in Leeds over the last three years, likely due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
2020 jewellery thefts: 432
2020 value of items stolen: £851,604
Not far from Leeds, Bradford had the third-highest number of thefts in 2020, with 432, for a combined total value of £851,604. In fact, three of the top four locations were located in the White Rose county, with Sheffield taking fourth place with 300 thefts in 2020.
The UK towns and cities with the highest number of jewellery thefts over the last 3 years
Looking back over the last three years (from 2018 to 2020), which are the areas that have suffered the most jewellery thefts overall? Nottingham recorded the highest number, with 3,321, closely followed by Leeds (3,014), with neighbouring Bradford in third, with 1,888.
The London boroughs with the highest number of thefts last year
It’s probably no surprise to hear that more jewellery thefts took place in London than anywhere else in the country, with 16,881 thefts in 2020 totalling £87.5 million, so we decided to look at how this breaks down by borough
2020 jewellery thefts: 1,507
. Westminster experienced the most jewellery thefts in 2020, with just over 1,500. The City of Westminster is a bustling part of central London and also one of the wealthiest areas in the country and while valuations of jewellery thefts weren’t available at borough level, one-off thefts in the area have been known to come close to £1 million alone.
2. Kensington and Chelsea
2020 jewellery thefts: 967
Kensington and Chelsea is home to many of London’s ultra-rich, with both the highest average wage and house price in the UK. So it’s not hard to see why it’s a common hotspot for jewellery thieves and there have been numerous high-value robberies in the area in recent years, including one case where as much as £50 million worth of jewellery was stolen from the Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone.
2020 jewellery thefts: 907
While the top two boroughs are found right in the heart of London, the area with the third-highest number of thefts was found on the outskirts of the city, in Barnet. The borough saw 907 thefts in 2020, a figure that was as high as 2,066 in 2018.
The London Boroughs with the highest number of jewellery thefts over the last 3 years
The areas with the highest values of jewellery stolen
While not all police forces were able to provide us with the actual value of jewellery that was stolen in the past three years, of those that did, just under £400 million worth of jewellery was stolen in total between 2018 and 2020!
By far the majority of that was accounted for by London, with thefts in the capital amounting to over £373 million in that three year period.
Outside London, it was Nottingham which had the highest theft of jewellery stolen, with just under £7 million across 2018, 2019 and 2020, followed by three West Yorkshire towns and cities, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.
How has the number of jewellery thefts changed?
Looking at all of the data, it’s clear that the coronavirus has had an impact on the number of jewellery thefts, with numbers dropping in every town and city that we received data for, with one exception: Blackpool, where thefts rose between 2018 and 2020, but only by 5.8%.
The areas where thefts dropped the most were Derby and Gloucester falling by 78.7% in both, from 94 to 20 in Derby and 47 to 10 in Gloucester.
However, it appears that levels of jewellery crime may have been decreasing even before the pandemic, with numbers dropping in over 80% of the areas between 2018 and 2019.
We sent Freedom of Information requests to the police forces of the 30 biggest towns and cities in the UK, requesting the number of jewellery thefts in each for the last three years, as well as the value of these thefts.
Unfortunately, not all forces responded, or held the data which we requested, and some were only able to provide the number of thefts, and not the value.