We will all be losing an hour of sleep this weekend as the clocks go forward once again. While for most people this is merely an annoyance or fact of life, for thieves it seems to be an opportunity.
Research by the Co-op has revealed a 23% increase in opportunistic burglaries when the clocks go forward, based on the last four years. And it's not just one weekend when you have to be extra careful, as 37% of all break-ins reported during British summer time are due to opportunistic thieves. This is up from the 30% they account for during the winter months.
When we talk about opportunistic thieves, we are referring to the kind that make use of unlocked doors and windows to steal from unsuspecting citizens. It's naturally more common for people to keep windows or doors open in the summer months, when you might actually want to get the warmth out of your house.
However, having an open window can make you more vulnerable to people passing by your house, especially if you keep expensive items or car keys near it. While it's always important to be aware of this, the Co-op's research points particularly to Fridays, which is when most home thefts take place. In contrast, Sunday is the least common day for break-ins during the summer.
The average cost related to opportunistic burglaries sits at £1,208 (according to last year's figures). Clearly, this is a threat that deserves to be taken seriously. Aside from keeping windows and doors locked as much as possible, you may want to make sure that there is nothing valuable placed near an entry point.
Additionally, the Co-op suggests people keep their outdoor items locked thoroughly and don't advertise when they're out of the house on social media. There is only so much you can do, however, which is why it's also important to have a home insurance policy that thoroughly protects you – just in case the worst happens.
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