Summer and Facebook – thieves love them both

    After one of the worst winters in recent memory, many Canadians are starting to take advantage of the weather with trips away from home. And with the most popular vacation months just ahead, Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country's leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance, is reminding all Canadians to take precautions to protect their homes and belongings from theft while away from the home.

    Data from Aviva Canada clearly shows that residential burglary claims increase dramatically over the summer months. Compared to February – which has the lowest frequency of burglaries – July, August and September show an increase of 24%, 36% and 18% respectively.

    "While we are pleased to see a general trend of decline in the instance of burglaries, Canadians need to be reminded that a few simple steps can help make them less of a target for this crime," states Wayne Ross. "Thieves know that homes are less occupied through the summer, so don't make it easy to tell that you're away."

    Aviva Canada suggests these precautions:

    • Keep your upcoming vacation plans off of social media and remind your kids to do the same. While you may be diligent with who can see what you post, some of your friends may not have tight privacy settings;
    • Consider upgrading the locking systems on your doors and windows. Also inspect window or door frames to ensure thieves could not easily force entry;
    • Ensure all windows and doors are locked when out of the home or overnight, and when moving into a new property have the locks changed;
    • 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 mow your lawn;
    • Install a security device with a loud alarm or flashing lights.  Some alarms contact authorities directly when they have been activated;
    • Do a home inventory with your video camera, it will take minutes, but will save you the stress and heartache of listing all of your possession. The Aviva customer survey also indicates only half of respondents have some form of home inventory. 

    Value of thefts increasing
    While the frequency of burglary is on the decline in Canada, the value of property being stolen is on the rise. For Aviva Canada, the average value of a burglary claim has increased 27% over the last five years from $5,695 to $7,243. This can be attributed to the value of easier to steal and sell items such as jewelry, tablet and laptop computers, cell phones, video cameras and gaming consoles.  "Thieves are generally not after larger items such as big screen TVs and stereo systems," Ross added.

    Friday is a favourite for thieves
    Aviva insurance claims data also indicates that break-ins are more common at the start of the weekend, with Friday showing the greatest incidence at 25% higher than Sunday, the day with the lowest incidence of break-ins. Thursday also shows a high rate of break-in frequency at 19% higher than Sunday.

    Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia trend higher than rest of Canada
    Based on Aviva Canada data from 2009 to 2013, Quebec homeowners have the highest frequency of break-ins at almost two times that of the national average. At just over one third of the national average, the Atlantic Provinces have the lowest frequency of burglary claims.


    Frequency of Burglaries (vs. National Average)


    93% above the national average


    29% above the national average

    British Columbia

    21% above the national average


    5% below the national average

    SK, NT, NU, YK*

    16% below the national average


    17% below the national average

    Atlantic Provinces*

    65% below the national average

    If you return home to find you've been the victim of a burglary, contact your insurance broker as soon as possible after alerting the authorities. Aviva also offers a single point of contact to begin the claims process quickly and efficiently. The toll-free claims line is 1-866-MY AVIVA, and it's open 24/7 so customers can talk to an Aviva Claims Care Advisor immediately.