By Daniel Machin
As the countdown to Christmas begins homeowners are being urged to lock up their valuables and be mindful of burglars.
Research from insurance specialist RIAS shows that the period running from late November to early December is the time of year when the most burglaries happen.
This coincides with darker evenings and people filling their homes with valuables as they stock up on presents ahead of the festive season.
Rise in burglaries
November 2012 saw an average 10 per cent increase in burglary frequency, with the first week in December seeing a rise of 25 per cent.
The average claim cost of a burglary, meanwhile, is £2,433, although this increases to £2,474 during November.
Peter Corfield, managing director at RIAS, is calling on homeowners to be extra vigilant when it comes to the security of their property.
"As the nights get darker over winter homeowners need to pay attention to their security practices," he said.
"Our analysis is particularly worrying for the UK's over 50s, some of whom are living in larger family homes and may have worked hard for many years to build up irreplaceable personal possessions.
"And it's not just loss of items that matter, burglaries are often extremely unpleasant and distressing.
"All property owners need to ensure that whatever their property size, they take the time this November and December to check their security measures."
Back doors and windows are most common points of house entry for burglars, with jewellery, cash and laptops high on their radar of things to steal.
Lock your doors and windows
Bigger houses obviously mean bigger risks and bigger claims, so it is even more important to make sure every single window and door is locked.
Five bed houses, for instance, are three times more likely to be robbed than one bed properties, with claims 127 per cent more on average.
The RIAS data also reveals that Bradford, London, Manchester and Leeds are the most burgled cities in the UK.
So residents in these areas should go the extra mile to safeguard their properties this Christmas.