Daylight saving time: These crimes skyrocket after clocks spring forward

PROVO, Utah — Daylight saving time is here again and many people are happy to set their clocks ahead one hour to get more sun. However, a new study finds there’s another group looking forward to the time change — criminals! While it might make more sense for the bad guys to work under the cover of darkness, some crimes actually skyrocket when you “spring forward.”

Commissioned by smart home company Vivint, researchers looked at data from the FBI Crime Data Explorer to compare crime rates during and after DST each year. Results show crime during daylight saving time has been steadily rising since 2017. From 2020 to 2021, overall crime incidents during these brighter months jumped from 15,900 to 20,900 — an increase of 11 percent.

Identity thieves love to strike in broad daylight!

So, what types of crimes should you be on the lookout for after turning the clocks forward? The study finds that the most common offenses during DST are impersonation (63.3%), identity theft (55.3%), and stolen property incidents (54.3%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, being the victim of a robbery (35.6%), having a car stolen (39%), and acts of counterfeiting and forgery (39.9%) are more likely to happen after DST ends — when there’s fewer hours of daylight. A 2015 study by the Brookings Institute backs this up, finding that crime falls by seven percent during the brighter months. Other studies have found that this number may actually be as high as 30 percent.

The study adds that robberies increased by a staggering 81 percent after daylight saving time ended in 2021, with burglaries and break-ins increasing by 16 percent.

Despite these findings, the team notes crime during DST is still on the rise. Moreover, households without a home security system are nearly three times more likely to be burglarized. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of U.S. homeowners say they have a home security system, a networked camera, or even a video doorbell.

daylight saving crimes

How can you keep your home safe?

Whether the sun is out until 8 p.m. or setting before 5 p.m., Vivint researchers have several tips to make sure criminals stay out of your home and away from your property.

  • Keep curtains and blinds shut at night
  • Check and replace locks
  • Light up your home’s exterior
  • Deter burglars with security cameras
  • Secure your front door
  • Invest in a home security alarm
  • Keep doors and windows locked
  • Replace batteries in emergency alarms
  • Invest in a smart thermostat

“Home safety requires year-round vigilance, whether it’s DST or not. Investing in smart security technology can go a long way in making sure that your home is as safe as possible during every time of year, regardless of if there’s been a time change,” the Vivint team says in a statement.

Survey methodology:

For this campaign, Vivint analyzed crime data from the FBI Crime Data Explorer to see if crime increases after daylight saving time ends. For this analysis, researchers considered the following:

  • The data considers “during DST” to mean: three weeks before daylight saving time ends, and “after DST” to mean: three weeks after daylight saving time ends.
  • Data is limited to incidents occurring between 5:00 and 7:00 PM (sunset hours).
  • Vivint took data from five states as a representative sample of the United States. States considered were Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

Researchers also took statistics from Parks Associates and Temple University.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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