Homeowners warned as burglars target Christmas presents

Article date: 7 December 2006

  • Insurer reveals top gifts stolen last Christmas

New Year’s Eve is the festiveseason’s worst day for burglary, according to Norwich Unionclaims data.* Homes are 25% more likely to be burgled on 31December than on a normal day as thieves take advantage ofpartygoers who leave their homes unoccupied and full of expensivegifts.

What’s more, the cost of a burglary over the festive seasoncan be up to £350 higher than on a normal day due to all the extragoodies in the home, according to the insurer. The average burglaryclaim is around £1200.

So Norwich Union is urging homeowners to take extra securityprecautions over the festive season to ensure spirits aren’tdampened by thieves on the look-out for newly unwrappedpresents.

As millions prepare to hit the high street this weekend for moreChristmas shopping, Norwich Union reveals the top ten items stolenby festive burglars last year.** It also predicts what will be onthieves’ Christmas swag bag wish list this year.

Top 10 items stolen Christmas2005

Burglars' 2006 Christmas WishList

1. Mobile phones

LG Chocolate and the Motorola KRZR

2. iPods/MP3 players

Apple Charity iPod Nano Red

3. Sat-Nav systems

The latest systems from TomTom or Packard Bell

4. Digital cameras

The latest digital cameras from Kodak

5. Games consoles

Nintendo Wii and the Xbox 360

6. Laptops

Apple Macbook

7. LCD TVs

High-tech LCD TVs like the new SonyBravia

8. Designer watches

Designer ladies watches from Gucci andRolex

9. Pocket PCs/Blackberries

Pocket PCs from Hewlett Packard

10. CDs/DVDs/Games

The hotly awaited DVD SupermanReturns

What’s more, research by Norwich Unionshows that homeowners give burglars a helping hand by hidingpresents in obvious locations around the home such as wardrobes(44%), under the bed (23%), or in the shed (12%). ***

Jason Harris, senior claims manager at Norwich Union said:“Of course everyone wants to put their presents under thetree for Christmas but before the big day ensure they’retucked away somewhere safe and not in full view to everypasser-by.

“The attic or loft is a good hiding place for presents– your average burglar doesn’t have time to climb intoyour attic and it’s also safe from excited children desperateto get a sneak preview of what they can expect on Christmasmorning.

“And at New Year make sure you double check your home beforeyou embark on your night on the town – you don’t wantto begin 2007 with a burglary.”

Because of all the extra items in the home over Christmas, NorwichUnion gives an extra £3,000 worth of contents cover over thefestive period.

But remember to consider all new gifts when it comes to renewingyour home insurance in the New Year. That wide-screen TV may havejust tipped your contents insurance over its limit!

Norwich Union’s tips to a safe and happyChristmas:

  • Don’t discard whole gift boxes in your dustbin, as thiscould give thieves easy clues about what they might find in yourhome! Instead try breaking them up into small pieces and placethem in your recycling bin or in a sealed bin bag
  • If you’re out and about on New Year’s Eve, leavelights on, ensure all doors and windows are securely locked andexpensive gifts not in full view
  • Avoid leaving the keys in the lock inside when double locking– this will prevent burglars using the hook and canemethod through your letterbox
  • Consider installing a burglar alarm either by an approvedcontractor or failing that by purchasing a system from one ofthe DIY chains. "Dummy Covers" are a deterrent but if you canafford it a real one is better. (It may also get you a discounton your home insurance!)
  • Fit a motion sensor light which will work at any time whetheryou are in or out of the house.

-ends-

*Norwich Union Claims Data from 1988 to 2005
**Norwich Union Claims Data from Christmas 2005
**Based on an ICM Research survey of 1000 people conducted between24-26 November 2006.

Press office contacts:
Chris Soult, Lexis PR,on 020 7908 6475 or csoult@lexispr.com
Rebecca Holmes, Norwich Union, on 01603 354 346 or 07800 690731

Notes to editors:
Norwich Union is the UK’slargest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with afocus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment productsand one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAsprovide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in theUK.

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

For more information, please visit www.norwichunion.com.

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