As British Summertime finally draws to a close, insurance company Aviva is calling on all homeowners to beware of Halloween hooliganism and bonfire night burglaries. Latest statistics show that when the clocks go back, crime goes up.
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 percent compared with the weekly average for the rest of the year.
The highest increase was in Strathclyde - where police saw a 57 percent rise 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 percent increase in burglary claims on Bonfire Night, making it the worst night of the year for break-ins.
Halloween also presents a threat to homeowners as tricks take a more sinister turn. Aviva claims data shows a rise of 150 percent in malicious damage claims to the home, with damage to cars rising by 50 percent and car thefts also increasing by 20 percent. Police figures also show a high incidence of criminal damage to property or vehicles on Halloween last year. Greater London suffered the highest number - 667, and Merseyside followed close behind with 435.
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."
"Unfortunately, the combination of darker nights and a mischievous occasion like Halloween also presents 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.
"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... Aviva's 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