The number of break-ins reported to police regularly jumps during the last three months of the year, according to Lennart Levander, a police sergeant and crime prevention specialist in the Stockholm area.
“When the darker time of the year arrives, the number [of break-ins] rises significantly,” he told the TT news agency.
Next weekend, in which All Saint’s Day falls, is the time of the year when the most break-ins are reported, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.
But studies suggest few people take active steps to prevent burglaries.
A survey of 1,000 people by the polling firm Novus found that more than a third of Swedes have done next to nothing to prevent a home burglary. While many people think Neighbourhood Watch initiatives are effective, fewer than one in ten are members of one.
“One thing all thieves have in common, whether it’s an organised crime gang or the traditional lone burglar, is that they don’t want to be discovered,” said Håkan Franzén of Trygg-Hansa insurance.
According to the National Council for Crime Prevention, your chances of becoming a burglary victim are reduced by up to 25 percent if you join a Neighbourhood Watch programme.
But it says an even better strategy is to invest in effective burglary protection equipment, such as high-quality security doors and window locks.
Other tips include removing bushes and other foliage from around your home. These create good hiding places for burglars who are trying to get in. If you travel, ask a good friend or neighbour to help make it seem like someone is home, the council advises.
Timers on lamps and radios in the house that go on and off at different times can also discourage thieves.
And alarm systems are good complementary protection, but they don’t prevent people from breaking in in the first place, experts argue.
“Most break-ins take place very quickly,” said Levander.
“Before the alarm company manages to send someone out, the thieves are already gone.”