UK: Don’t let criminals darken your door as the nights draw in

33% increase in gold and jewellery thefts on Bonfire Night

18-10-2012 — / — It’s not just ghosts and ghouls that people have to be wary of as the clocks go back, criminals also see it as an opportunity to cause damage, steal cars and burgle houses.

Claims data from Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, shows that Bonfire Night is the worst day of the year for burglaries with a 25% rise compared with an average day1. And homeowners need to be aware that gold and jewellery are prime targets on the 5 November with a 33% increase in claims compared with the average in September and October2.

And it’s not just houses thieves target – there is also a dramatic increase in car thefts on 5 November with 20% more claims than average. Car thieves are also out and about during Trick or Treating with a similar increase (19%) on Halloween.

Rob Townend, director of claims at Aviva, said: “What could be better than lots of noise from fireworks and the cloak of darkness to help thieves target your home and car. With darker nights and plenty of householders enjoying bonfire parties outside and away from their home there is a great opportunity for thieves to take advantage.

“The price of gold and silver has risen by over 100% in the past 5 years, so it is not surprising jewellery is a prime target for thieves. It’s clearly a time for people to be extra vigilant and we would also encourage all homeowners to ensure that their valuables are insured for the right amount, so if the worst happens they can be fully compensated for their loss.”

Data shows that the price of gold has risen by 132% and silver by 118% between August 2008 and August 20123.

As well as theft, this is also a time of year when malicious damage comes to the fore.  On Halloween there is a 150% increase in claims for malicious damage to the home, including; damage to doors, smashed windows and general vandalism – often caused by food such as eggs, flour and even pumpkins. Cars are also hit with a 45% increase in claims of damage.

But damage can also occur in a way that’s not malicious, especially on Bonfire Night which sees a 50% increase in fire claims compared with an average day.

Townend continued: “Always follow safety instructions closely if you’re hosting a bonfire party as it only takes a stray spark or misdirected firework to cause a serious amount of damage to any property in the vicinity.

“Theft, malicious damage and fire are all covered as standard by Aviva home insurance but it’s clearly best to avoid the stress of such an event occurring in the first place.”

Top tricks to avoid being targeted by criminals:

  • Put the car in the garage or move out of the way for the night and make sure you don’t leave your keys near the front door
  • 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 are secure and have robust locks
  • If you enjoying a firework party in the garden, make sure your front doors and windows are shut and locked
  • And of course follow all the usual safety precautions when dealing with fire or fireworks

Should the worst happen then Aviva can help by:

  • Ensuring an approved tradesperson is with you within two hours to secure your home, in the event of a burglary if your house is unsecure or unsafe.
  • We will also provide lock replacements if your keys are stolen or lost, up to a value of £500
  • Claims teams available 24/7, 365 days a year.

– ends –

1. Figures from Aviva claims data 2002 – 2011
2. Aviva jewellery claims on November 5th 2011 compared with the average number of claims in September and October 2011
3. Data provided by Aurum Holdings

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

John Franklin : Aviva Press Office : 01603 680795 : 07800 692110 :

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours.

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