There is literally never a better time to have security cameras operating at your house than when  the clocks go back to standard time, a new study suggests.

Time to turn the clocks back … and install a surveillance system?


As we soon turn the clocks back to standard time, which this year happens at 2 a.m. on Nov. 5, there may never be a better time to start saving and protecting your prized possessions. Here’s why.

According to research out of Cornell University, when daylight saving time ends, burglary incidents across the country have risen in the hours that followed.

Using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System that’s maintained by the FBI, the researchers discovered that between 2005 and 2008 in approximately 560 jurisdictions nationwide, robberies rose 7% as daylight saving time came to an end. They typically occurred just before or in the moments after sunset.

Further details of the report, titled “Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity,” have since been published in the journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Nicholas Sanders, an assistant professor of economics at Cornell’s Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology, noted that there are a few reasons why robberies tend to spike when the clocks “fall back.”

“When daylight saving time ends, the prime work commute hours in the early evening – when people are walking out to parking garages or heading to public transit – take place after sunset,” Sanders explained.

Limited light makes for less notice

More than anything else, though, the uptick stems from the decrease in sunlight. As the researchers detailed in the study, criminals prefer darkness to light because it provides them with more freedom of movement and decreases the chances of them being caught in the act.

The university professors also noted that as the evening progresses, theft usually diminishes, both because there are fewer people out on the streets – making for fewer crimes of opportunity – and more individuals have returned to their homes.

The study’s researchers argue that Congress may want to consider extending daylight saving time even further after discovering that during days of the year in 2007 and 2008 when DST was in effect, with the same 24-hour periods in which it wasn’t the previous year, robberies fell when DST was in place. Nine years ago, lawmakers decided to lengthen DST by three weeks in the spring and by one week in the fall in order to curb electricity use.

“Society could reduce the overall social costs of crime by simply shifting the clock,” Sanders and his colleague, Jennifer Doleac, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Virginia, wrote in the report.

There has been a spate of robberies occurring throughout several cities and town in Texas, including Richmond, Crosby, Edinburg, and Spring, local media outlets have reported. All of them occurred in September.

Over 7.9 million property crimes nationwide last year

But the Lone Star State isn’t the only place where crime has intensified. In 2015, violent criminal activity in the U.S. increased 3% from the previous year, according to the latest numbers published by the FBI. However, property crimes specifically have diminished, down 8% for burglaries and 2% for larceny. But at a total of 7.9 million incidents, no one would deny that they’re occurring far more often they ought to be.

Surveillance systems are a proven crime deterrent. A 2011 study done by the Urban Institute found that among public security camera programs – in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C. – cameras that were “routinely monitored” helped lower the frequency with which property crimes took place. They also found there to be “no evidence of crime displacement,” meaning the criminals didn’t simply move their illegal activities to areas where cameras were not recording or installed.

Being proactive about deterring property crime has the dual benefit of keeping your family protected while saving you money on your home insurance. For more information on how the discount works and how much savings you may be eligible for, contact your Elephant Auto Insurance advisor.