Homeowners and tenants are being warned to take extra precautions over the festive period, as data reveals burglaries can peak in the run-up to Christmas.
Burglars’ busiest day is 23 December
According to insurer Direct Line, December is the most common month for burglaries, with numbers peaking on 23 December. In the week before Christmas, incidents of home break-ins can be 28% higher than the yearly average.
But even criminals take some time off over Christmas, with reports of burglaries dropping by 65% on Christmas Eve, 56% on Christmas Day, and 41% on Boxing Day.
Value of Christmas gifts
With many people heading out to visit friends and family and the extra value of expensive gifts being stored in the home, burglars can find the festive period their most lucrative time of year.
The top three items claimed for over this period are also popular as Christmas gifts. Bicycles are most likely to be stolen in a burglary, followed by mobile phones and tablets.
According to a recent survey by uSwitch.com, 64% have never checked that their home insurance covers their gifts. Although some insurers do offer an automatic increase over Christmas (usually up to 10% of the insured value), it’s important to check your documents as policies can differ.
Commenting on the data, Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line home insurance, said: “Burglary claims can peak during December, which reinforces the importance of taking steps to secure your home. It would be heart breaking to lose presents simply because the house was not properly secured.”
“It’s also worth bearing in mind that as people head out to Christmas parties or to seek some winter sun, householders should take simple security measures to deter potential thieves.”
Tips for preventing Christmas burglaries
- Ensure packaging for expensive items is disposed of properly, not left outside in plain sight
- Keep your Christmas tree and gifts away from outside view
- Don’t hide a spare key outside the home – burglars know all the common hiding places
- Have a friend look after the house if you’re away, or use a device to switch lights on automatically
- Make sure the outside of your home is well lit
- Consider getting a burglar alarm or security light
- Keep receipts for valuable items in case you need to make a claim
- Check with your insurer whether you get extra cover for Christmas gifts