Crime set to rise as clocks go back
Crime is expected to rise when the clocks go back this weekend, according to new figures.
With British Summer Time drawing to a close, new research has discovered that burglaries rose by 26% in the week surrounding last October's clock change compared with the weekly average for the rest of 2010.
Insurer Aviva, which collated the figures using freedom of information requests to 16 UK police forces, said the figures show the highest increase was in Strathclyde, where police saw a rise of 57% in reported burglaries between October 30 and November 5, compared with the weekly average for the rest of the year.
The second worst-affected area was Northamptonshire, which saw a 53% increase, followed by South Wales, with a 45% rise in break-ins.
Devon and Cornwall saw two-fifths more burglaries, while Merseyside, West Yorkshire and Durham all rose by about a third, figures show.
A spokesman for the insurer said the statistics are supported by 10 years of claims data which show a 28% increase in burglary claims on Bonfire Night, making it the worst night of the year for break-ins.
Commenting on the figures, criminologist Professor David Wilson of Birmingham City University, said: "Clearly when the clocks go back, it gets darker earlier and darkness provides a number of opportunities to the offender.
"Most obviously, he is more difficult to personally identify and the importance of this was underscored by all those pictures of young men covering their faces during the August riots.
"The darkness also hides their criminal intentions - in other words, they do not look suspicious to those who might be walking about and who provide a form of 'natural surveillance'.
"Some householders may have forgotten to leave a light on in their homes - their houses would be in darkness - which signals that there is no one home and therefore the house is easier to enter."