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Home owners beware: 36% spike in home thefts when clocks go back

28 October 2016

  • Home theft claims spike by over a third (36%) in winter months
  • Friday is the day most likely for a theft to occur
  • Motor claims also increase by 6%

Figures from The Co-op Insurance have shown a significant spike in home and motor claims when the clocks change and daylight saving time ends.

After analysing thousands of customer claims since 2013, the Co-op Insurance can reveal that home theft claims increase by 36% in the five months after the clocks go back – this year scheduled to be on 30 October.

With winter nights often making it easier for burglars to hide under the cover of darkness and unoccupied houses easier to spot as they may not have lights on, theft claims increase. Thefts are most prevalent in the winter months on a Friday.

According to the Co-op data, home thefts between November and March are more likely to be via forced and violent entry than in the summer months. In comparison thefts which are more opportunistic or deceptive, and are non-forcible are more prevalent in the summer months.

Co-op Insurance’s top tips to protect your home from burglary


Leave a light on when you are out or invest in a light timer


Install exterior security lights at the front and back of your property


If possible, invest in a CCTV system


Don’t post your location on social media sites


Ensure doors and windows are locked


Set your burglar alarm


Ensure outbuildings/sheds are secured


Don’t leave valuables on display


Never leave car keys within easy reach of a letterbox


Don’t leave ladders outside your home

Motor insurance claims including thefts of, or from, cars also increases by 6% when daylight saving time ends. Claims analysts have found that in addition to the more difficult driving conditions such as icy, wet roads claims increase due to:

  • Drivers forgetting to turn their lights on
  • Vehicles being badly maintained leading to incidents, i.e. not putting lights on
  • Windscreens freezing then cracking, for example if you try to defrost a window with boiling water

Jonathan Guy, head of claims at the Co-op Insurance said: “Unfortunately darker nights lead to more burglaries and we are urging people to be vigilant and think carefully about both their own, and their property’s safety.

“Nobody should have to go through the trauma of having their property burgled. Whilst in a lot of cases it is simply a case of bad luck, there are things that homeowners can do to deter thieves such as installing CCTV cameras, or at least dummy ones, and having a professional burglar alarm fitted to make burglars think twice.

“We actually spoke to a number of reformed burglars last year and they said that motion activated security lights are most likely to put would-be burglars off with 26% steering clear of homes with these installed, so this could be a good investment if you don’t have one already.

“If you do see anything suspicious at yours or a neighbour’s property never put yourself in danger by going investigating alone, instead call the police.”

Lynn Farrar, chair of Neighbourhood Watch, said: “As an organisation that shares information about crime trends among our members these figures are not surprising to us as we know that in the dark, winter months unlit houses are a good way of letting opportunistic burglars know there’s no-one at home.

“The very best thing you can do to stop yourself being a burglary victim is to make your house look occupied when you go out. We recommend fitting window locks, leaving inside lights on a timer so your house isn’t in darkness, fitting double or dead bolts on your doors and installing an outside light on a sensor.”


Notes to editors

* Claims data analysed from 2013, comparison between 5 months preceding the end of daylight savings time and 5 months after.
** Co-op Insurance questioned 25 ex-burglars via Unlock, an award-winning charity that provides information, advice, training and advocacy, to those dealing with the on-going effects of criminal convictions.

For more information contact:

Jenna Moss
Press & Media Relations Manager – Co-op
0161 767 4354/07540 641368