New Year's Thi-eve

Article date: 6 December 2011

Apples and Blackberrys – not the fruit – are predicted to be at the top of this year’s shopping list for would-be Grinch’s who are set on stealing everything, but the Christmas tree.

But unlike the Grinch, who robs Who-ville the night before Christmas, British burglars prefer to wait until New Year’s Eve, which is the season’s worst day for burglary according to 10 years’ worth of claims data from Aviva*. Homes are 24% more likely to be broken into on 31 December than on an average day, the UK’s largest insurer found.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meanwhile, have one of the lowest crime rates of the year – even criminals have a holiday it seems! But if you’re unlucky enough to be targeted on 24 or 25 December the value of belongings taken are higher than normal – at around £1,700 on average – a real Grinch haul.

To protect its customers, Aviva automatically increases home contents cover by an extra £3,000 over the Christmas period. But it is reminding all homeowners to ensure their sum insured is up to date in January, taking into account their Christmas bounty. 

As the countdown to Christmas begins, Aviva’s claims data also shows that, despite the strain on budgets, pricey gadgets are still popular. Aviva reveals the top ten items stolen by holiday burglars last year** and predicts what will be top of the shopping list for consumers in 2011.

Top 10 items stolen 
Christmas 2010

Predicted wish list 
Christmas 2011

1. Laptops (particularly Toshiba and Samsung brands)

1. Apple iPhone 4S

2. Nintendo Wii

2. Apple iPad 2

3. Apple iPods (particularly Touch and Classic)

3. Laptops (particularly Apple and Sony Vaio)

4. Sony Playstation 3

4. LED/3D Televisions - 40"+

5. Nintendo DSi

5. Kindle (particularly new touch screen version)

6. Sony PSP

6. Apple iPod (particularly Touch)

7. Apple MacBooks

7. Games Consoles (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360)

8. Microsoft Xbox 360

8. Digital Cameras (particularly Sony)

9. Mobile phones including iPhones

9. Handheld Consoles (particularly 3DS)

10. Apple Macbook Pros

10. Blackberry and HTC smart phones

Jonathan Cracknell, household underwriter at Aviva, said: “The Christmas season is a great time to be with family and friends and actually your home is statistically pretty safe on the big day, but just one week later all those new gadgets and gifts offer rich pickings for burglars who can take advantage of homeowners celebrating New Year elsewhere.

“With the noise of fireworks and many people not returning home until the early hours it is the perfect opportunity for thieves to take their time and slip into houses unnoticed. So don’t make it easy for them – make your home look lived-in, leave lights on and make sure you remember to secure all doors and windows properly, especially those at the back of your home and don’t forget the garage and shed -  otherwise you might find someone else enjoying all your new gifts!”

Sparks flying

While you are least likely to be burgled on Christmas Day homeowners themselves need to be careful with the candles and cooking – 25 December is the worst day of the year for fires in the home, with claims soaring by 140%. Christmas tree lights plus dry tinsel and wrapping paper also contribute to the rise.

Aviva’s tips to a safe and happy Christmas:

  • Don’t make your home look like a shop window to tempt burglars by leaving presents under the tree – try to keep them out of sight until the big day
  • Attics and lofts are a good hiding place for presents and it’s usually too much effort for the average burglar to look that hard for items to steal, plus they’ll be far away from the wandering eyes and hands of excited children
  • Ensure all gift packaging is as unidentifiable as possible when you throw it out. It’s easy to just dump new TV or iPod boxes in or near your outside bin but it’s a beacon of advertising to opportunistic burglars
  • When it comes to New Year’s Eve, double check the home security before you leave. Ensure all doors, windows, sheds and garages are locked securely and spare keys aren’t on display or near to your front door – this will this will prevent burglars using the hook and cane method through your letterbox
  • Leave lights and the TV or radio on if you’re out and about over Christmas so burglars think you’re home
  • Be neighbourly – keeping an eye out for suspicious behaviour and alerting the police if necessary is the right thing to do and could mean you prevent a miserable Christmas or New Year for your neighbour.

For more information on insurance direct from Aviva go to www.aviva.co.uk

-ends-

*Aviva claims data from 2000 to 2010

**Aviva theft claims data from December 2010

Press office contacts:
Rebecca Holmes, Aviva’s UK General Insurance press office, 01603 685 177 / 07800 690 731, rebecca.l.holmes@aviva.co.uk

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 10 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 £4.3 million 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 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.

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