A new State Farm study has identified the top 15 states that may see a glimpse of “suspicious santas” — burglars who strike during the holiday season. Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Georgia and California were among the top states where home burglaries have increased, according to the company’s analysis of claims data for 2004, 2005, 2006 and the first nine months of 2007.
The study indicated there is an upward trend in homeowner theft. This year, State Farm expects to handle more than 92,000 claims that involve a break-in and burglary, a 2 percent increase from the prior year.
Consequently, the company is encouraging consumers to properly secure their homes and belongings before leaving on a family vacation.
“Would-be burglars typically target homes that appear to be vacant for the holidays,” says Becky McDermeit, underwriting analyst for the company. To make homes less appealing to suspicious characters, the company recommends adding high grade bolt-type locks, strong door frames and doors, impact resistant windows, an audible alarm system, and outdoor lighting.
To determine the top 15 states in this study, State Farm developed a weighted average for each state and then compared it against the company national average. The results of this study identify Nevada as having the highest probability of homeowner theft in the country. Data from 2007 indicates Nevada has had 3,010 burglaries within a nine month time frame. However, Arizona, which ranked fourth on this list, has seen a sharp increase in homeowner theft this year.
The states least likely to see a suspicious santa this season are: South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. To view a complete list of the top 15 states and tips consumers can use to safeguard their homes, visit www.statefarm.com/.
Source: State Farm
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