Christmas burglary could cost £36 million

Article date: 28 November 2001

Britain's homeowners risk losing more than £36 million worth ofpresents in burglaries this Christmas, a study shows today.

Norwich Union’s Christmas Crime study shows that eachhousehold will on average spend £520 on presents and up to 70,000households could be burgled during the festive season*.

But despite this risk, three quarters of British homeowners takeno extra security precautions against crime at Christmas.

And it isn’t just Christmas presents that are being eyedup by burglars to steal – cash is the most commonly stolenitem** and an average family spends £260 on food, drink and otherprovisions to last through the festive season.

Norwich Union’s Christmas Crime study also found that:

  • Half of all Britons place their presents around the Christmastree by a window in full view from the outside
  • Consumer spending this Christmas is set to be around £100 lessper household than last Christmas
  • People in the South take more precautions to make their homesecure at Christmas - and spend the most on food, drink and otherprovisions
  • The Scots are the least likely to make their home more secureat Christmas
  • The Welsh spend the most on Christmas presents

To help people protect themselves and their property atChristmas, Norwich Union has produced a guide, called ‘CrackChristmas Crime’.

The guide, written in conjunction with the NationalNeighbourhood Watch Association, gives homeowners helpful tipsabout how to make their home safer, not only at Christmas, but allyear round.

Some top tips include:

  • security-marking expensive gifts or taking photographs foridentification and insurance purposes
  • keeping presents out of view by positioning the tree away fromthe window
  • telling neighbours you are away and asking them to keep an eyeon your home
  • check the burglary alarm is activated whenever you leave thehouse

Jill Willis, market development manager at Norwich UnionInsurance, said: “Christmas is a time of giving, but duringthe festive season high-value presents, food, alcohol and otherprovisions are particularly at risk of burglary.

“To avoid being another burglary victim, homeowners needto be extra vigilant about home security. Our research shows thatthree quarters of Britons are not taking extra care to protecttheir properties. But with some basic precautions they can avoidunnecessary anguish.”

John Howell, director general for the National NeighbourhoodWatch Association, said: “Despite popular belief, burglarsare very active at Christmas time. They target empty homes duringthe Christmas and holiday season. Therefore we need to be extracautious at this time of year.

"However, a few simple measures can deter and prevent burglary.Christmas should be enjoyed without the fear of crime."

For a free copy of Norwich Union’s Crack Christmas Crimeguide, call Freefone 0800 028 0939.


For further information contact Gabrielle Brewer, Anja Kueppersor Matthew Buchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Liz Kennett/JennyChapman at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 64

Notes to editors: Norwich Union commissioned TaylorNelson Soffres to conduct research with 1,000 households acrossBritain. The survey was carried out on 16/17 November 2001

* Home Office Statistics, October 2000- December 2000 ** 2001British Crime Survey

Norwich Union

  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on thisinternet site
  • A selection of images is available from the CGNU Newscast siteat
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality interviews.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68
  • Norwich Union increases the sum insured for household contentsduring December

For all life & pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73 Forall other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

The National Neighbourhood Watch Association

  • The National Neighbourhood Watch Association (NNWA) is thenational charity that supports, promotes and representsNeighbourhood Watch in the UK.
  • There are now over 155,000 Neighbourhood Watch schemescovering over 6 million homes, that’s 27% of UK households.This makes it the largest voluntary movement in the UK.

Other useful information

  • Between Oct – Dec 2000, 106,000 homes across England andWales were burgled (Home Office Statistics). This is an average of70,000 homes over the festive season Nov- Dec.

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