Christmas burglary could cost £19 million

Article date: 4 December 2002

Britain's homeowners risk losing up to £19 million worth ofpresents in burglaries this Christmas, a study shows today.

Norwich Union’s Christmas Crime study shows that eachhousehold will on average spend £500 on presents and up to 38,000households could be burgled during the festive season*.

But despite this risk, threequarters of British homeowners takeno extra security precautions against crime at Christmas - with onein five people leaving their presents out under the tree up to twoweeks before the big day.

And it isn’t just Christmas presents that are at risk– an average family spends at least £400 on food, drink andother provisions to last through the festive season - 35 per centmore than last year.

Norwich Union’s Christmas Crime study also found that:

  • 8 per cent of people have been victims of Christmas crime
  • Men are more generous than women at Christmas, with 40 percent of men spending up to £500, compared to just 33 per cent ofwomen
  • More than a quarter of people put up lights and decorationsoutside their homes over the festive period, which could representa theft risk
  • The south is the worst area for Christmas crime, with one in10 southerners having been victims and nearly eight out of 10people in the Greater London area admitting to not taking anyextra steps to prevent such crime
  • Homes are most susceptible to burglary on Christmas Eve, when40 per cent of people leave their presents under the tree at thistime

To help people protect themselves and their property atChristmas, Norwich Union has produced some top tips for homeowners,including:

  • keep presents out of view by positioning your Christmas treeaway from the window
  • tell trusted neighbours you're away and ask them to keep aneye on your home and maybe park their car in your drive whileyou're away
  • use timer switches to turn lights on and off during theevening to give the appearance that someone is home
  • don’t forget to double check all doors and windows arelocked when you leave your house
  • if you have a burglar alarm make sure that it is set and thatyou have told the police who the keyholder is
  • taking photos of very expensive gifts will be invaluable ifthe items ever need to be identified by the police and forinsurance purposes

Jill Willis, market development manager at Norwich UnionInsurance, said: “Christmas is a time to relax and catch upwith friends and relatives, but the threat of burglary during thisperiod can’t be ignored.

“Home security at Christmas is as important as putting upthe decorations, buying the turkey and watching the cheesyChristmas day film, yet our research shows that three quarters ofBritish people are not taking any extra care to protect their homesand property. By taking a few simple steps, homeowners can help toavoid the trauma that burglaries cause.”

Commander Robert Quick, from the Association of Chief PoliceOfficers, (ACPO) said: “Burglars do not take any time offover Christmas and are extremely opportunistic during this period.They prey on empty homes and lax security, so we must all beespecially cautious."

Norwich Union’s ‘Crack Christmas Crime’ tipsare available at:

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Soffres to conductresearch with 1,001 adults aged 16+ across Great Britain. Thesurvey was carried out on 15-17 November 2002

    * Home Office Statistics, October 2001- December 2001

  • Norwich Union Insurance is the UK's largest insurer with amarket share of around 16% and is 1.5 times the size of itsnearest rival. It is also the largest personal lines insurer.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at
  • A selection of images is available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at

For further information contact:
Andrew Olley or Jane Wheeler at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or LizKennett/Jenny Chapman at Norwich Union on 08703 66 68 64

Members of the General Insurance Standards Council
Members of the Aviva group

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