Bonfire night is the worst day of the year for theft
According to ten years of Aviva claims data, 22% more thefts are reported on Bonfire Night compared to the average day.
However, a survey of 2,500 UK homeowners revealed that one in five households holding a party in their garden admit to leaving the back door unlocked to make it easier for friends and neighbours to come and go as they please.
And over one in ten even go as far as leaving the front door unlocked.
Nearly two-thirds said they do not check their windows are locked before heading out to the back garden, and only a third take steps to ensure that their valuables are not visible from the outside and out of sight from opportunist thieves.
The report found that even those who plan to attend a public firework display away from the home fail to carry out basic security checks with one in three not checking that windows are locked and a fifth not ensuring that doors are secure.
The claims data revealed that mobile phones and laptops are the most stolen items claimed year-on-year during the Bonfire Night and Halloween period, with Apple products such as iPhones, MacBooks and iPods proving particularly popular with thieves.
Heather Smith, director of home insurance at Aviva, said: “The crash and bang of fireworks under the cover of darkness gives opportunist burglars their best opportunity to target your home. The 22% increase in thefts shows they will be out and about while families are enjoying the fizz and sparkle of Bonfire Night celebrations.
“But those planning fireworks parties in their own back garden shouldn’t think they’ll be safe from thieves. It’s easy to leave doors and gates unlocked so that people can come and go as they please – including burglars. So why not keep doors locked and let guests in as they arrive, so that you know who’s coming into your home.”
Top 10 tips to beat the burglars this Bonfire Night
1. Give the impression that someone is home by leaving the radio on a talk-back station and a few lights on.
2. Use a timer switch to ensure your lights will come on as it goes dark and use eco-bulbs to save money on bills.
3. Avoid telling strangers who know your address, such as delivery men or salespeople, that your house is likely to be empty at any particular time.
4. Don’t leave any valuables in your car. If belongings are too big to carry, make sure to conceal them well, take them with you or leave them at home, safely out of sight.
5. If you’re holding a party at home, avoid leaving a sign on your front door telling guests to meet you in the garden or ‘come in around the back’.
6. Make sure all front doors and windows are locked.
7. Try not to have the music too loud if you’re having a party – burglars might think that makes your house an easy target.
8. Put the car or bikes in the garage or out of the way for the night and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place.
9. Use all the locks and bolts on your doors – they’re there for a reason!
10. Don’t put spare keys in obvious places like under the doormat or a flower pot.