Insurer launches home security makeover

Article date: 24 October 2008

"Safer Street" campaign comes as Brits fear for their homes in credit crunch

The economic downturn, the return of darker nights and a lack of basic security knowledge are all leaving us feeling at greater risk of burglary than ever before.

Research by Norwich Union*, found that one in three now fear their home is more vulnerable as a direct result of the credit crunch. And over a third (39%) of people report they feel more at risk of burglary when the clocks go back.

Yet 20% still don't lock their doors and windows at night, more than 13% admit they still leave windows open when they're out and over a quarter (27%) don't think about home security at all.

Against this backdrop Norwich Union, part of Aviva, has joined forces with Norfolk Police to launch the "Safer Street" campaign www.aviva.co.uk/help-and-advice/home-advice/safer-street - a unique home security project on a typical UK street.

Over the past three months a row of Victorian terraces in Norwich has undergone a basic security makeover using simple yet effective crime reduction techniques.

The aim is to educate homeowners on the simple steps they can take to reduce their risks, to bring communities together and make neighbourhoods feel safer.

"Of course insurance is there to help when you are unfortunate enough to become a victim of crime," says Simon Warsop, director of home pricing at Norwich Union.

"But no one wants to be burgled in the first place and the more we can all do to help protect our homes and our belongings the better."

Officers from Norfolk Police's Crime Reduction Department offered their expertise and advice on the project. All security measures were installed on their recommendation.

"Eighty per cent of crime is carried out by opportunist burglars so it is a constant frustration to me that homeowners still leave keys in doors and windows open," says Insp Russ Wilkinson from Norfolk Police.

"You can put the best security measures in the world into a house, but what you also need is the homeowners, their neighbours and the wider community to work together, look out for each other and look after their properties."

Someone who knows exactly how a burglar's mind works is Bob Turney. Now a home security expert and author, in his youth Bob was breaking into people's homes. He's given a valuable insight into the Safer Street project.

"Quite simply a would-be burglar is looking for an attractive proposition, be it a purse left on a table or a set of car keys hanging by the back door, so don't make it easy for them.

"We're not talking about turning homes into fortresses, just simple steps that will make a criminal think again before they target you."

The Safer Street project involves eight homes, their gardens and surrounding areas. Gating alleyways, replacing walls, new fencing, new front and side gates plus additional lighting and door and window locks are just some of the measures that have been put in place. All changes have been funded by the insurer.

Clocks go back crime goes up

  • Norwich Union figures show that burglary claims increase by 5% after the clocks go back**
  • The average cost of a burglary claim is over £1000
  • Police figures show that burglaries from homes, sheds and garages increase by 5% after the clocks have gone back ***

What we also found

  • 13% wish they knew their neighbours better because it would make them feel safer
  • 13% wish they knew more about how they can protect their homes
  • Nearly a quarter (22%) leave their keys in door and window locks
  • One in ten people leave home and car keys clearly visible and on a hook near the front door
  • 7% of people leave a spare key right outside their front door


For more information on the project log on to:

www.aviva.co.uk/help-and-advice/home-advice/safer-street

View for yourself the project from start to finish, watch Bob Turney's personal home security assessment, plus tips and advice.

NOTE: All media are respectfully asked not to identify the exact location of the properties involved in this project, for reasons of privacy and security.

-ends-

Press contacts:

Joanna Pritchard, Lexis PR, 020 7908 6440 / jpritchard@lexispr.com
Sophie Lam, Lexis PR, 020 7908 6482 / slam@lexispr.com
Rebecca Holmes, Norwich Union press office, 01603 685177 / 07800 690731 rebecca.l.holmes@norwich-union.co.uk
Katy Hurren, Norwich Union press office, 01603 683618 / 07800 693216 katy.hurren@norwich-union.co.uk
Norfolk Police Press Office, Gemma Cooper, 01603 276024 / coopergl@norfolk.pnn.police.uk

Notes to editors:

*Omnibus research fieldwork was undertaken between 22 - 29 August 2008 and carried out online by Redshift Ltd. Total sample size was 2,592 adults and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults aged 18+

** Norwich Union claims figures from 1997 to 2007

*** Crime figures from Norfolk Police from 1997-2007

Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer. It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest Financial Adviser (FA) providers.  FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

In the summer of 2009 Norwich Union will change its name to Aviva.  Aviva is the world's fifth largest insurance group and operates in 27 countries.  Aviva is to become the customer brand worldwide, thus enabling the company to compete even more effectively on a global scale for the benefit of customers, staff, business partners and shareholders.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media.

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