Home owners beware: ‘Opportunistic’ thefts increase by a third as clocks go forward

26 March 2019

  • 37% increase in opportunistic burglaries occur when the clocks go forward - Friday is the most common day for break-ins
  • 1 in 10 thefts due to home owners being ‘distracted’

Co-op Insurance is warning home owners to be more vigilant in light of their latest claims data released today.

When looking at the insurers 2018 claims data, two fifths (41%) of home thefts occurred after the clocks went forward and of these, a third (33%) were categorised as opportunistic.* Opportunistic crimes generally happen when windows and doors are left open or things are left outside the property, such as bikes.

The data reveals that the number of opportunistic thefts increases by almost two fifths (37%) when the clocks go forward, highlighting a trend of homeowners relaxing home security in the lighter months of the year.

This is in stark contrast to the darker, winter months as from November to March, less than a quarter (24%) of break-ins are described as opportunistic.

Furthermore, claims data reveals that the number of thefts as a result of homeowners being ‘distracted’ increases when the clocks go forward and account for a tenth (11%) of break-ins with examples including thieves posing as builders and engineers, to gain access to properties.

When delving into the days where people are most vulnerable, majority of home thefts take place on Fridays (15%), whilst Sunday is the least popular day with just over a tenth (13%) of break-ins occurring on a Sunday.

For that reason, Co-op Insurance is offering home owners advisory tips to ensure security remains on the agenda as the clocks go forward.

The Co-op Insurance’s home security tips:

  • Remain vigilant and keep homes secure during the lighter, summer months
  • Keep windows and doors locked
  • Where possible, invest in a CCTV system
  • Check on vulnerable neighbours
  • Refrain from posting your location on social media platforms
  • Set your home burglar alarm
  • Ensure outbuildings and sheds are locked
  • Refrain from leaving valuable items on display
  • Don’t leave car keys within reach of a letterbox

Ian Kershaw, Head of Claims at the Co-op Insurance said:

“Whilst generally, less break-ins occur when the clocks go back and evenings are lighter, what we’re seeing during this time is a trend of home owners relaxing their home security and opportunist thieves striking.

“At the Co-op we’re keen to keep and make communities safe and so we’re urging people to continue to be vigilant and think carefully about the safety of their property all year round.”

John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of the Neighbourhood Watch Network, said:

“These findings from the Co-op Insurance further highlight the need for people to look out for one another.

“With 1 in 10 break-ins being as a result of homeowners being distracted, it’s really important that we look out for our vulnerable neighbours. Our advice is if people aren’t sure who is at the door, don’t open it. Most genuine callers will have a pre-arranged appointment. Also if you see a neighbour’s home where it seems a window has been left open, a back gate or a shed left unlocked for example, check on them and let them know.”


Note to editors

*Claims data analysed from 2018, comparison between 5 months preceding the start of daylight savings time and 5 months after. Opportunistic refers to the proportion of burglaries which have been classified as non-forcible entry

Media Contacts:

Claire Newmarch, PR Assistant:
Claire.newmarch@coop.co.uk / 07808609944

Hannah Charlton, Press Officer:
Hannah.Charlton@coop.co.uk /07713 314 894

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About Co-op Insurance:

Co-op Insurance is part of the Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-ops, owned by millions of members. Alongside Co-op Insurance, we have the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the UK’s number one funeral services provider, and a developing legal services business.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.