Guys and ghouls spark a rise in thefts, fires and vandalism

Article date: 27 October 2014

With dark fiery nights and ghoulish goings on, Aviva is warning homeowners that burglaries, vandalism and house fires increase sharply over Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Analysis of 10 years’ worth of claims data from Aviva reveals that the bad ‘guys’ come out on Bonfire Night, sparking a 22% increase in burglaries compared with a typical day.  The data also shows:

  • Halloween is the worst day of the year for vandalism with claims for malicious damage to homes soaring by 160% - and Bonfire Night is the second worst.
  • Fire claims are 60% higher on Bonfire Night, and a typical house fire can cause about £12,800 of damage.
  • Car crime increases, with a 20% rise in motor thefts on both Halloween and Bonfire Night.
  • And car accidents rise on average by 20% in the week when the clocks go back.

And electronic items are the most likely to be stolen, with laptops, smart phones and tablets top of the thieves wish list.

Aviva research also shows that a large number of people don’t check their doors and windows are locked when hosting or attending parties. 13% leave their front door unlocked when they’re having their own display and two-thirds don’t check their windows are locked, giving burglars easy access to their home.  And 33% of those that attend fireworks parties don’t check their windows are locked.*

Simon Warsop, chief underwriting officer at Aviva, said:

“We have more burglary claims on Bonfire night than any day of the year. Many families will be out enjoying the spectacle, but the distractions of loud fireworks gives opportunistic thieves the chance to steal from homes – especially if doors and windows are left unlocked.

“Many people leave doors open when having a party and others don’t always check their house is properly locked when they go out to enjoy some fireworks fun.  With more burglars on the prowl, this could lead to an unforgettable fireworks night for all the wrong reasons.

“And with fire claims and vandalism also increasing during this period, stay vigilant and safe while enjoying the bonfire and Halloween festivities.”

Tips to deter burglars

  • If you are hosting a Halloween or bonfire night party in you back garden make sure front windows and doors are locked.
  • Leave a radio and lights on to give the impression that people are at home.
  • Use a timer switch to turn lights on as it gets dark.
  • Avoid telling strangers who know your address – such as delivery men – that your house is likely to be empty.
  • Put your car and bikes in your garage or out of the way for the night and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place.
  • Move garden ornaments and potted plants from the front of your house and out of sight.
  • Make sure sheds, garages and outbuildings have robust locks.

* Aviva commissioned research with One Poll among 2,500 homeowners about their habits and activities on Bonfire Night from 24-27 September 2013.

- Ends -

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

John Franklin: Aviva Press Office 01603 680795:

* Aviva commissioned research with One Poll among 2,500 homeowners about their habits and activities on Bonfire Night from 24-27 September 2013.

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