How crime rates vary through the year

After a mild autumn here in the UK, it looks like winter is finally taking hold.

Research into the seasonality of property crimes by the Office for National Statistics has shown clear trends across 11 different types of property crime. So, as the seasons change, we must be aware that certain crimes are more common during different times of the year, and we must take action to minimise the risk of being targeted.

So what crimes are more popular at what time, and what can you do to stay safe?


autumnImage via Ian Sane

With winter approaching and the clocks going back, Autumn means longer nights, giving thieves more time under cover of darkness.

Bonfire night and Halloween also mean a large number of people are out at night, creating a great opportunity for thieves to target unsuspecting revellers, or empty homes.

Check out our infographic on how to stay secure during autumn.

Tips to stay safe

  • Install light timers when away at night to give the impression someone is home
  • Ensure all windows and doors are locked when leaving the house empty
  • Ensure you know where your children are on Halloween and Bonfire Night, accompanying younger ones and checking that older ones know to stay alert


winterImage via H Matthew Howarth

Like in Autumn, crime in Winter is also greatly affected by the long nights – but Christmas also plays a big factor.

According to the ONS, domestic burglary is 1.14 times more likely in winter than summer, with 6,748 more offences reported between 2009 and 2012.

This is most likely due to the opportunity that Christmas gifts pose to burglars, and also the result of ‘Blue Monday’ – a date in January when financial difficulties are at their worst due to overspending over the festive period.

Tips to stay safe

  • Like in autumn, install light timers to give the impression you are home
  • Never display your Christmas tree and gifts in windows visible to the street
  • When shopping for gifts, do not leave them on display in your car
  • Do not leave wrapping for gifts in public bins – dispose of them discreetly
  • Make sure you tell your neighbours if you have a holiday over the Christmas period


springImage via Khánh Hmoong

The research by the ONS shows that shoplifting and non-domestic burglary are slightly more likely in the spring than in autumn – although, there seems to be little explanation as to why this might be the case.

One thing to remember at home is that spring tends to be the season in which we spend most time gardening. It’s good news for your greenery, but potentially a welcome invitation to thieves, as we often tend to leave garage doors open to easily access tools.

Tips to stay safe

  • Keep your garages and sheds locked while using tools and ensure you put them away after use, or they could be used as a means of entry
  • Make sure garage doors are closed and secure whilst out in the garden
  • Make sure fences around your home are secure and not broken
  • Consider planting defensive hedging and plants to deter criminals


summerImage via Richard Rydge

Theft away from home peaks in the summer, simply because more people are out and about more. Bicycle theft is especially severe in the warmer months, with incidents rising by 1.65 times.

There’s an interesting reason for increased crime over summer. American research has revealed that excess heat can cause humans to over-produce adrenaline, which can lead to inappropriate levels of aggression.

At home, there’s a risk of being targeted by burglars whilst away on summer holidays. Check out our infographic on summer holiday security tips.

Tips to stay safe

  • If you are going on holiday, ask neighbours to keep an eye on your home while you’re away
  • If you’re going to be away for a long time, consider letting your local beat team or neighbourhood watch know
  • Light timers set in different areas of your home can help to give the impression that someone is at home whilst you’re away
  • Don’t discuss your holiday dates in public where you could be overheard