Clocks go back criminals come out

Article date: 26 October 2011

  • 26% increase in burglary between Halloween and Bonfire Night

As British Summertime finally draws to a close Aviva is calling on all homeowners to beware Halloween hooliganism and bonfire night burglaries as latest statistics show that when the clocks go back crime goes up.

Avoid the Wrong Kind of Fireworks

Research conducted by the insurer with 16 police forces across the UK found that the week from 30 October to 5 November last year saw an average increase in reported burglaries of 26%* compared with the weekly average for the rest of the year.** The highest increase was in Strathclyde where police saw an increase of 57% in reported burglaries for that week compared with their weekly average for the rest of the year. This is supported by ten years of Aviva claims data which shows a 28% increase in burglary claims on Bonfire Night, making it the worst night of the year for break-ins.

Table 1: Number of Burglaries for week commencing 30 Oct – 5 November 2010 compared with the average for the rest of the year.

Police Force

Bonfire Night Week Burglaries

Rest of year weekly burglary rate

Burglary Percentage Change

Avon and Somerset

151

126

20%

Devon and Cornwall

97

67

44%

Merseyside

180

136

32%

West Yorkshire

510

392

30%

Norfolk

42

35

19%

Staffordshire

62

64

-3%

Kent

118

97

22%

Essex

158

126

26%

Surrey

73

70

4%

South Wales

123

85

45%

Durham

44

34

29%

Met

1472

1,163

27%

Leicestershire

87

84

3%

Greater Manchester

374

354

6%

Northamptonshire

79

52

53%

Strathclyde

172

110

57%

Total

3742

2995

26%

Rob Townend, property claims director at Aviva says, “Shorter days present more opportunities for criminals to work under cover of darkness. On Bonfire Night in particular, many people are out of the house at public displays or at parties and the noise of fireworks provides a distraction and means that suspicious sounds such as smashing glass aren’t heard.”

Halloween Horrors

Halloween also presents a threat to homeowners as tricks take a more sinister turn. Ten years of Aviva claims data shows a rise of 150% in malicious damage claims to the home with damage to cars rising by 50% and car thefts also increasing by 20%. Common Halloween claims include smashed windows, vandalism to vehicles and damage to garden property.

Table 2: Criminal Damage in Halloween 2010

Police Force

Incidences of Criminal Damage to a Property or Vehicle

Avon and Somerset

220

Devon and Cornwall

129

Merseyside

435

West Yorkshire

280

Norfolk

54

Staffordshire

108

Kent

201

Essex

196

Surrey

81

South Wales

222

Durham

81

Metropolitan (London)

667

Leicestershire

103

Greater Manchester

320

Northamptonshire

71

Strathclyde

394

Total

3562

Rob Townend, property claims director at Aviva says, “Unfortunately, the combination of darker nights and a mischievous occasion like Halloween or a noisy one like Bonfire Night present too good an opportunity for some criminals to resist. These are real hotspots in the crime calendar when homes and cars can be more at risk than any other time in the year.

“However, simple measures can help to minimise the risk – put the car in the garage if you have one, tidy up any loose garden items or ornaments so they are not used to cause damage and make your house look occupied if you are going out by leaving lights on and of course make sure all doors and windows are securely locked.

“Obviously, theft and malicious damage are covered as standard by your home insurance if the worst does happen, but it’s best to take steps to avoid having the worry of being a victim of crime in the first place.”

Remember Remember…Top tricks to avoid being targeted by criminals:

  • Put the car in the garage or tucked out of the way for the night
  • Move any garden ornaments, potted plants or bikes from the front or side of your house and out of sight
  • Don’t feel you have to answer your door, to trick or treaters, if you don’t want to.
  • Leave the radio and the odd light on when you’re out during the winter to give the appearance of someone being home
  • Ensure sheds, garages and other out-buildings have robust locks
  • If you enjoying a firework party in the garden, make sure your front doors and windows are shut and locked.

-ends- 

*Based on FOI requests to 16 UK police forces on the number of reported incidences of Burglary in a Dwelling between 30 October and 5 November 2010.

**Weekly average calculated using British Crime Survey 2010/11 Crime in England & Wales 2010/11: Police Force Area tables, Table 4 Burglary offences recorded by the police, percentage change and rates by police force area, English region and Wales, 2010/11 and Strathclyde Police Annual Report 2011.

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Aviva Press Office:

Rebecca Holmes: 01603 685177/07800 690 731 rebecca.l.holmes@aviva.co.uk

The Wriglesworth Consultancy:

Suman Hughes / Hugh Murphy: 020 7427 1400 s.hughes@wriglesworth.com

Notes to editors:

Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group.  We provide 44.5 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products with total worldwide sales in 2010 of £47.1 billion**.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers. Our combination of life, health and general insurance is unique in its scale and breadth in the UK market.  Customers can choose to buy our products through intermediaries, our corporate partners or from Aviva direct and we have become the partner of choice for many of the UK’s biggest organisations. 

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc are in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2010 we invested £4.3m into our communities in the UK, which included 1,500 Aviva volunteers giving 24,000 hours for good causes. In addition, our employees gave £600,000 through fundraising and donating. Read our corporate responsibility report at www.aviva.com/2010cr.

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.

The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes company information and a news release archive.

For broadcast-standard video, please visit http://www.aviva.com/media/video/.

Follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/avivaplc

*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2010.
**at 31 December 2010.

Back to top