Survey: Americans Worry Economy Poses Increased Risk to Crime

November 11, 2008

More than four in 10 Americans are worried that the current economic environment can expose their families to crime, according to a nationwide survey of 1,000 people. Many survey respondents also indicated that economic conditions are causing them to reduce their spending on security systems and devices.

The survey, sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos, found that 41 percent of respondents said they are very concerned about crime against themselves and their families based on the economy. Forty percent are very concerned about the trustworthiness of household contractors, and 34 percent are very concerned about checking the backgrounds of longtime household help, including babysitters, nannies and cleaning staff. Although 25 percent are very concerned about taking additional security precautions at home, only 8 percent plan to spend more money on these needs and 39 percent anticipate spending less.

“It is understandable that people are worried that crime will increase in these difficult times,” said Scott Spencer, senior vice president, Chubb & Son, and worldwide appraisal and loss prevention manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. “But it is more important than ever for families to allocate more, not fewer, resources toward their protection.”

Spencer encouraged homeowners to perform thorough background checks including credit and criminal histories on all household employees. Even if they were conducted in prior years, he suggested that the backgrounds be reexamined as emerging financial pressures may tempt some employees to steal. Also, homeowners should verify that home maintenance and repair contractors have rechecked the backgrounds of their employees.

The survey also found that 45 percent of respondents plan to spend less on home improvements such as renovations or additions and 25 percent plan to cut spending on maintenance and repairs.

“Spending less on home maintenance and repairs often is not cost-effective in either the short- or long-term,” said Spencer. “A few dollars spent now on maintenance and repairs can save you thousands of dollars on energy bills and prevent more costly repairs later.”

The 2008 Chubb National Home Protection Survey was conducted in early November by Opinion Research Corporation, a worldwide research and consulting firm in Princeton, N.J.

Source: Chubb,

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