Don't 'present' burglars with an opportunity this Christmas

November 19, 2015

  • Ex-burglars give their tips on keeping your home safe this festive period
  • More than two in five people (42%) will have done their gift shopping by 22 November

Shoppers will have more time to enjoy the festivities this year, as when it comes to buying Christmas presents  for loved ones, more than two in five (42%) will have everything ‘wrapped up’ by mid-November (22nd), according to new figures from The Co-operative Insurance. *

A further third (33%) will be hitting the shops between 23 November and 6 December – the most popular time to pick up presents – meaning they won’t be on the last minute either.  The average amount consumers will spend on gifts is £437, however up to one in twenty people (6%) expect to spend over £1000 on gifts this Christmas.
To help people keep their valuable presents safe this Christmas, Co-op Insurance spoke to ex-burglars to find out what put them off when it came to targeting homes in the past as thefts are most prevalent in the winter months, increasing by 38%.**

Motion activated security lights are most likely to put would-be burglars off with 26% steering clear of homes with these installed.

CCTV cameras are also a useful deterrent with over a fifth (22%) of potential thieves wanting to avoid houses with these in place.  A total of 15% are fearful of Fido, with a dog’s bark making them walk away, whilst professionally monitored burglar alarms were avoided by 11%.

However, noisy gravel driveways and ‘Beware of the Dog’ stickers aren’t a successful turn off for brazen burglars who are more likely to try their luck than turn around.

When asked, ex-burglars said that other common mistakes home-owners often make included:

  • ‘shutting the curtains when they go away and then they're shut all day every day’
  • ‘leaving curtains open all the time’
  •  ‘leaving post protruding from the letter box’
  • ‘leaving things on show’

While the majority of people will be storing their presents for friends and family in their house, (92%) many may worry about having additional expensive items under their roof.  

Jonathan Guy, Head of Claims at Co-op Insurance, said:

“As Christmas approaches houses begin to fill up with valuable items, all of which are desirable to thieves, which many people have saved up for months to afford.

“Many people will be visiting their nearest and dearest over the holidays but nobody should have to deal with somebody entering their home and stealing their possessions.  Our research has shown that simply installing a security light outside the home can deter burglars from targeting properties.  If you are going away you could ask a family member or neighbour to visit your property whilst you are away to keep a check on things.

“Whilst insurers such as ourselves increase cover limits on the items in your home by 10% at Christmastime and during other religious festivals, prevention is always better than cure and a few simple steps can ensure that nobody has a ‘Blue Christmas’ this year.”

The security measures most likely to put off would-be burglars:

  • Motion activated security lights  26%
  • CCTV cameras 22%
  • A barking dog 15%
  • ADT monitored burglar alarm 11%

Notes to editors

*Research conducted by One Poll on behalf of The Co-operative Insurance 2015 with 2,000 UK adults online
**The Co-operative Insurance questioned 25 ex-burglars via Unlock, an award-winning charity that provides information, advice, training and advocacy, to those dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions. For more information visit:
Claims data analysed from 2013, comparison between 5 months preceding the end of daylight savings time and 5 months after
*** The total sum of contents will automatically increase by 10% 30 days before Christmas day and 30 days after.  Individual item limits still apply.


About The Co-operative Group:

The Co-operative Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 employees and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.

For further information contact:

Alex Wilson
Press & Media Relations Manager
The Co-operative Group
0161 767 4281/07540 641368