Thieves take advantage of warm weather

Residential burglaries spike in summer months with people spending more time outdoors.

With Canadians taking advantage of the warmer weather by spending more time outdoors, they’re reminded that thieves take advantage of summer too.

Insurance stats from Aviva Canada, show that residential burglaries spike in summer months with a 13 per cent, 22 per cent and 32 per cent higher frequency in June, July and August, respectively, than February, which shows the lowest occurrence of residential theft claims.

“Canadians just provide more opportunity for theft to occur in the warmer months,” said Wayne Ross, of Aviva Canada. “The longer residents spend away from their homes, without taking the proper precautions, the greater chance that thieves will strike.”

Friday is a favourite day for thieves, with break-ins more common at the start of the weekend than Sunday, the day with the lowest incidence of break-ins.

The good news is that burglaries overall are on the decline in Canada, with an almost 50 per cent decline in burglary claims between 2003 and 2011. National data from Statistics Canada also shows a six per cent in break and enters between 2009 and 2010.

But, while the frequency of burglary is on the decline in Canada, the value of property being stolen is on the rise. Since 2003, the average dollar value of the articles stolen from burglaries has increased 51 per cent from $4,574 to $6,912 in 2011 – attributable to the popularity of easy-to-grab valuable items such as tablet and laptop computers, cell phones, video cameras and gaming consoles.

Tips in preventing a break and enter include:

* Upgrading the locking systems on doors and windows. Ask yourself if you could easily force entry.

* Ensure all windows and doors are locked when out of the home or overnight. Change the locks when moving into a new property.

* Make a home look occupied when you’re away. Park a car in the driveway, leave some household lights and a radio on, ask a neighbour to collect mail and newspapers and have your lawn mowed.

* Install a security device with an alarm or flashing lights. Some alarms contact authorities directly when activated.

* Do a home inventory with your video camera, it takes time, but saves the stress and heartache of trying to list your stolen possessions.

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