People are safer in their homes now than they have been in a generation, Britain's most senior police officer has said.
Burglary is at a 27-year low across the country, despite people often fearing they are not safe in their house, Scotland Yard Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said.
His comments come after the top judge in England and Wales defended householders' rights to protect themselves from intruders.
"Although people sometimes despair about crime, burglary is about a 27-year low right around the country," Mr Hogan-Howe said.
"Burglary is going down.
"People often don't think they're safe in their house, they're actually more safe than they have ever been in a generation."
A total of 501,053 burglaries were recorded by police in 2011/12, including 245,317 in a dwelling, less than half the 1,015,075 recorded in 1997, 519,265 of which were in a dwelling, figures from the latest Crime Survey of England and Wales showed.
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said last week that frightened and furious householders have the right to get rid of burglars in their homes and were not expected to remain calm when confronted by intruders.
"If your home is burgled and you're in there, you have the right to get rid of the burglar," Lord Judge said.
"When you're at home you want to feel safe, and in my view you're entitled to feel safe and secure," he said.
"This is your haven, this is your refuge, this is where you have the right to be safe."
He went on: "A predecessor of mine 400 years ago who said, 'Your home is your castle', that's what he is reflecting on.
"This is the place where you pull up the drawbridge and the moat makes you safe.
"Your home is your safe place, so burglary is always serious."
Lord Judge spoke out after Judge Michael Pert QC said that being shot by homeowners was simply a chance that burglars took.