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Will Your House Be Broken Into This Year?

Gloved hand of thief with crowbarWhat are the odds that your home will be burglarized this year? Data from the FBI 2012 crime report shows that we can expect one in every thirty-six homes in the United States to be burglarized this year, resulting in an average loss of $2,230 per break in (totaling $4.7 billion in property losses). These numbers do not account for any additional psychological costs to the homeowners, as burglary victims may subsequently live in fear and harbor feelings of personal violation.

Top Ten Highest Risk Burglary Cities in the U.S.

We thought it would be interesting to take a look at the cities with the highest burglary rate. According to the FBI’s crime statistic rankings1 of U.S. cities with a population of 250,000 or more, here are the burglary stats by city on cases per 100,000 people for the 2012 calendar year (based on the most recent FBI crime report).

Cities in America with the highest crime rate (worst ranked first)

We want to remind you to use caution when looking over these rankings. There are different variables that affect crime and these rankings often lead to misleading perceptions affecting the areas and their residents.

Cities with the Highest Violent Crime Rates

  1. Memphis, TN – 1,056.8
  2. Detroit, MI – 1,049.8
  3. Flint, MI – 907.5
  4. Stockton, CA – 889.3
  5. Anchorage, AK – 811.1
  6. Rockford, IL – 739.7
  7. Lubbock, TX – 720.2
  8. Las Vegas, NV – 696.5
  9. Nashville, TN – 665.9
  10. Little Rock, AR – 665.0

Cities with the Highest Property Crime Rates (includes Burglary, Larceny-theft, Motor Vehicle Theft)

  1. Spokane, WA – 5,538.5
  2. Fayetteville, NC – 5,359.6
  3. Little Rock, AR – 5,150.4
  4. Columbus, GA – 4,778.6
  5. San Antonio, TX – 4,688.1
  6. Springfield, MO – 4,623.0
  7. Lubbock, TX – 4,522.5
  8. Montgomery, AL – 4,448.0
  9. Fresno, CA – 4,423.8
  10. Miami, FL – 4,390.3

Cities with the Highest Burglary Rates

  1. Fayetteville, NC – 1,827.4
  2. Flint, MI – 1,448.4
  3. Toledo, OH – 1,389.5
  4. Little Rock, AR – 1,379.9
  5. Memphis, TN – 1,303.3
  6. Montgomery, AL – 1,389.8
  7. Bakersfield, CA – 1,271.6
  8. Spokan, WA – 1,239.1
  9. Winston-Salem, NC – 1,220.8
  10. Columbus, GA – 1,211.0

Burglary Statistics Infographic

We created an infographic to visually portray how burglary can impact Americans and to showcase the key takeaways when considering home safety and investing in a home security system. Burglary Stats Home Security Infographic

Embed This Infographic on Your Site

Know what a burglar is thinking

If you know what a burglar is thinking you’€™ll know some of the most crucial things to keep your home safe. These include: the first area of the home to be burgled, the most commonly stolen items, the most popular time for burglaries to occur, the most common point of entry into a burglarized home, the profile of a typical burglar, and the amount of time a burglar spends in your home. Knowing these items can help you protect some of your precious valuables and your home.

the first room a burglar goes for

Master bedrooms are usually the most common room for a burglar to target. This is a jackpot room for the burglar because items like jewelry, collectibles, safes, and cash can be found here. Next on the burglar’€™s list is the home office, living room, and dining room. These rooms often display valuables openly so it’€™s easy for them to scan these rooms and take what they want. Valuables may include items like china dishes, flat screen TVs, gaming consoles, and more. Valuables change over time due to the development of technology and the ‘€œideal’€ modern home.

Most Commonly Stolen Items

Burglar breaking into a home with crowbar

Below are some of the most commonly stolen items during a burglary. Most of these are easy to sell at a pawn shop, which makes them appealing to a burglar.

  • Cash
  • Electronics
  • Gold
  • Guns
  • Jewelry
  • Silver

most popular time for a burglar to strike

The most common time for a burglary to take place is between 10 am and 3 pm. Of course, burglaries can take place at any time of day, but this is the most common time frame. This is shocking to most people because it’€™s stereotyped that criminals tend to work at night to keep hidden. But if you think about it, it makes sense to target a home between 10 am and 3 pm because most homeowners are away from the home either at work or running errands.

what entry point does a burglar use most often?

Most burglars enter your home through the front door. At times, a burglar may first knock on your door to see if anyone is home. If no one is home, they’€™ll jiggle the doorknob to see if it’€™s unlocked. Many times homeowners leave their doors unlocked, which is an open invitation for an intruder.

The next best entry point for a burglar to gain access to your home is through a window on the first floor, followed by the back door. This doesn’€™t mean that burglars don’€™t bother attempting other entry points like garage doors or through the basement so be sure to always lock your doors/windows and have heavy-duty locks on them.

what’s a typical burglar’s profile

There isn’€™t a specific cookie cutter profile when it comes to burglars but there is a common profile. A burglar tends to be a male in his mid-to-late teens. One thing that you wouldn’€™t think is that the burglar often targets homes within a few miles of their own home.

what’s the average time a burglar spends in a home?

The most important thing for a burglar (besides stealing your belongings) is the in and out time. It needs to be as smooth as possible and as quick as possible with little hassle. The average time a burglar spends in a home is 8-12 minutes.

Making Burglary Difficult for Criminals

Burglars don’€™t like to spend too much time breaking into a home (usually less than a minute). You can make your home more difficult to break into by installing jams on windows and patio doors and deadbolts on all entry doors. Be sure to have all of your shrubbery and vegetation trimmed so it’€™s not easy for a burglar to hide in. Keep the outside of you home clutter free as well so intruders cannot hide behind any objects. And of course, always lock your doors and windows.

Technological Advances

Home security systems first became available in 1969. At this time they were unreliable and too expensive for the average homeowner. Today, systems are more dependable and more affordable to the average consumer. Companies like ADT, Alarm Force, and CPI bombarded the general public with scary statistics on burglary, so homeowners were more willing to pay for these systems.

Other advances in home security systems include notification systems that went from alerting neighbors with a shrill and annoying alarm, to directly notifying police. Is it the very existence of these home security systems that deters burglars? Perhaps it is the idea that burglars would be less likely to get away with their crime with the police en route as soon as the alarm sounds. Current data suggests that homes without security systems are 2.7 times more likely to be targeted by a burglar. Unfortunately, these statistics do not shed light on why burglars choose not to break in to these homes.

Check out our home security systems reviews page to learn more about the current technology available from home security systems.

Burglary in the United States

According to the FBI, there were an estimated 2,103,787 burglaries in 2012, a decrease of 3.7% compared to 2011. Burglaries in the US regions have decreased except for in the West, where the number of estimated burglaries increased to 4.8%. With burglaries taking place every 15 seconds, I’d be concerned about my house being burglarized too.

In the United States, burglary is prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, but how exactly is it determined one or the other? The state in which the crime was committed is the determining factor, since every state has its own rules regarding the severity of a burglary. Strangely enough, burglars do not tend to think ahead of the game and find out the potential punishment for the crime that they are about to commit. If a potential burglar were to find out that the offense would be considered a felony in that particular state, he or she may be prompted to think twice before committing the crime.

Why should a burglar care whether his or her crime could be punishable as a felony or a misdemeanor? The punishment for a felony is much more severe. After someone commits three felonies, the criminal will receive a much harsher punishment regardless of the nature of the third felony. Punishment is not the only thing that should scare these criminals straight. They should take into consideration the necessity of work and living arrangements, as individuals with a felony conviction on their criminal record have a considerably low chance of obtaining gainful employment or even renting a moderately decent home. Almost everything done in today’€™s society utilizes a criminal background check. For the convicted felon, this spells doom and prevents advancement within the community even after he or she has completed a sentence.

Burglary in the United States has declined since the 1970s

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the incidence of burglary in the United States in 2002 was 27.7 households out of every 1,000. Surprisingly, this rate has moderately declined over the past decade. Data from 2008 shows a steady hold in the rate of burglary incidences at around 26.3 out of every 1,000 homes. This decline may seem somewhat small, but looking at the entire United States population, even a small drop in criminal activity per 1,000 households is significant. By expanding the data range from 2002 back to 1973, the declining trend in burglaries can be seen with more accuracy. In 1973, the reported rate of burglary fell at 110 out of every 1,000 households. Compared to the 26.3 out of every 1,000 households reported in the United States in 2008, this is a considerable and noteworthy statistic.

What Caused Such A Decline In Burglary Statistics?

Various speculations have arisen behind the decline of burglary statistics since the early ‘€˜70s. However, the four measures of serious violent crime reveal interesting information. These four measures include: the total violent crime rate, the crimes reported to police, the crimes recorded by police, and the arrests for violent crime. When these significant measurements are compared over the past four decades, they point to increased arrests for criminal behavior and an increase in the amount of crimes recorded by the police. Ironically, as the amount of crimes recorded by police have increased, the number of victimization’s reported to police have declined. Burglary is not included in the ‘€œserious violent crime’€ category, which includes homicide, rape, robbery, and assault.

These burglary trends are still rather significant, as they show a growing reluctance to report victimization and an increase in the number of individuals arrested for violent crime. As the arrest rate has increased and the number of victimization reports have decreased, the total number of violent crimes have decreased. We cannot help but wonder about the strength of association between these elements.

How Do Violent Crime Statistics Relate To Property Crime?

Broken WindowProperty crime rates have declined for decades. Are the increase in arrest rate and decrease in crimes reported to blame for this decline? According to recent reports, the United States has a prison population larger than those in Russia and China. Could a ‘€œcrack down’€ on arrests and convictions for criminal activity cause criminals to avoid the urge to burglarize? The data does not present enough facts to determine the cause for increased arrests, but it can prove that arrest rates have increased. Since 1920, American prisons held under 200,000 individuals who were convicted of illegal activity. This rate increased to around 265,000 in 1970. As of 2006, however, the prison population has skyrocketed to a mind-blowing 2.4 million. Are citizens today becoming increasingly reluctant to call the police and report criminal activity? One can hold out hope for a reformed criminal population and cleaner streets, but it is unlikely that the entire criminal population of the country remains behind bars.

What about the Legalization of Crimes?

Major topics like the legalization of abortion are said to have had a significant impact on the level of reported crimes. The arrests of those performing illegal abortions no longer occurred after it was made legal, and some argue this impacted the crime rate. However, this argument does not account for the decline in property crime. The only legislation change that could have affected all rates of criminal activity was the implementation of the ‘€œthree strikes’€ law, which was enacted in 1993. Even with this three strikes policy in place, however, the bottoming out of burglary statistics did not occur until many years later. It seems that this is not a likely scenario either.

How Does Burglary Compare to Robbery?

Many people use the terms burglary and robbery interchangeably, but there is a significant difference. Burglary involves breaking and entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime. Robbery, however, is defined as the theft of property or money through the threat of violence. A victim must be present in order for a crime to be considered robbery. Additionally, burglary deems it unnecessary for theft to be committed, and a crime classified as a robbery requires theft to occur. The typical bank holdup is considered a robbery, and like this scenario, many robberies involve the use of weapons and threat of violence in order to intimidate a victim into giving up items of value. Whereas robbers enter a situation knowing that threat and/or violence will be involved, burglars seldom intend a confrontation with their victims and generally do not act violently. Learn more about the differences between burglary and robbery.

Source: [1]

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About David DeMille
David comes to with several years of experience in the security industry. He's installed, troubleshooted, and reviewed security equipment and technology, and is passionate about sharing his research.
  • Jordan Walker

    I really appreciate all the info about burglaries. Knowledge is power, as they say. However there’s one thing you might change.. You mention “forcible rape.” Just to streamline and to make sure people don’t misunderstand your stance, you might remove the unnecessary word “forcible,” from the sentence. If it’s a term used in various laws, I understand why it was written that way, but the layperson will understand without “forcible,” in the phrase and it won’t take people out of their reading, thinking, “Wait, forcible? Yeah, because there’s another kind… If it’s not forcible it’s not rape. Well that was superfluous.” Just a thought!

    • Lia

      Hi Jordan – thank you for reading this post and for your feedback. We used the word ‘forcible rape’ due to the terminology specified in the laws surrounding violent crimes. However, you’re correct – we do not need to get that specific in this post and will be removing the word ‘forcible’ to ensure there is no misunderstanding going forward. Best – Lia

  • mplo

    It seems to me that being in an isolated place out in the country would also pose a certain amount of risk, due to the fact that there aren’t as many “eyes” or “ears” around, if one gets the drift.

  • XRX

    I saw that Toledo, OH where I actually live has about a 14% chance to get burgled and I am close to that so is the chance relatively similar? And the house next to me got burgled so does that decrease the chance that mine will?

    • Unfortunately, just because your neighbor got burglarized doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Once a burglar has been in an area and achieved a burglary they’ve seen how capable they are of doing it. This makes them more apt to return to the same neighborhood.

      I would definitely suggest getting a home security system. If you are unable to afford one you can take other steps first. For example, get a smart switch so you can turn lights on and off while you’re away so your schedule looks more “unpredictable” or put home security system signs in your yard so it looks like you have a system. I’m not saying either of these are a guarantee and nothing is as safe as owning an alarm system, but these are some beginner steps you can take prior to installing a system of your own.

  • Me

    A friend of mine just got her home broken into last night while she was at work. She has bars on doors and windows and an alarm system which did not work at the time. Someone’s getting sued! Tell me how you get through bars without using a blow torch?

  • Great information Michelle,
    Having a home alarm system in place and activated is a must when leaving your home for any length of time. Especially when you are away for an extended period of time.

    If you are going away for an extended length of time be it for vacation, business or for an unexpected emergency… it is also vital to have your property physically checked and watched by someone locally that you can trust.

    A physical presence can detect situations with a property that alarm systems do not detect, IE: broken water pipes & plumbing issues, electrical malfunctions, storm damage, appliance(s) malfunctioning, etc.

    By combining the two (alarm system & physical presence), a property owner can rest assured their home is safe and secure. Peace of mind with no surprises when returning home.

  • Jefusan

    I’m coming to this post late, but there is a huge mistake in this article and infographic — one that a lot of other sites have since picked up. The data at the top of this page is 100% wrong.

    I was looking at your table “Cities with the Highest Property Crime Rates,” based on a 2011 FBI report, and was shocked to see New York City to be #1. I had just looked at a similar table on Wikipedia for 2012, where New York City was listed as the lowest in property crime rates out of all cities with a population of 250,000 or later. Something had to be wrong, so I went back to the FBI table.

    That’s where I saw your mistake. You list the total number of crimes in the city as the rate per 100,000 people. You are making the amazing claim that out of 100,000 New Yorkers, there were 140,457 property crimes — as if every person in the city was robbed or burgled 1.4 times in 2011! If you were to compare the number of crimes to the actual population of NYC (much bigger than most U.S. cities), you would see that the 2011 Property Crime Rate for New York City is actually 1,710 per 100,000 people. Compare that to St. Louis, which had a property crime rate of 8,010 per 100,000 people. That’s more than four times higher than NYC’s property crime rate.

    From the Wikipedia article, for 2012 (which I know is the year after your list,) here are the correct cities:

    1. Cleveland
    2. Toledo
    3. Memphis
    4. Detroit
    5. Cincinnati
    6. Indianapolis
    7. Oklahoma City
    8. St. Louis
    9. Tulsa
    10. Oakland

    Property Crime:
    1. St. Louis
    2. Oakland
    3. Atlanta
    4. Memphis
    5. Cleveland
    6. Cincinnati
    7. San Antonio
    8. Oklahoma City
    9. Detroit
    10. Indianapolis

    New York City is at the bottom (among cities over 250,000 people) on both lists!

    • Alex Schenker

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention! We are currently investigating.

  • Daisiemae

    I totally believe that many burglars strike close to home. A few years ago, a large apartment complex was built next door to our upscale neighborhood.

    Surprise! Surprise! Now we have a jump in burglaries and break ins. Our neighbor left his car unlocked and cigarettes and money were stolen. Teenagers were also using an empty house for night time adventures. Several other houses in the neighborhood were burglarized.

    We have an above ground pool. People (probably teenagers) were going into the pool at night while we were asleep. They actually went into our shed and took out the pool toys and left them in the pool.

    Previously, we were simply moving the ladder a considerable distance away from the pool…too far for small children to be able to move it back and hook it up, but no problem for teenagers.

    So we started locking the ladder to the door handle of the shed. By the next summer, we had motion lighting installed. a new pool entry with a locked door, and we had the shed door repaired so we could close and lock it properly.

    We have motion lighting front and back and an alarm system. We keep the car doors locked at all times. We keep our doors and windows locked too.

    We haven’t had any problem since we installed the lighting and starting securing the pool ladder.

  • Bob

    This is a great article with awesome facts about robbery. In my line of work, a lot of people do not realize how vulnerable and how frequent robberies and thefts are. This is why it is so important to utilize modern technology to protect your home and loved ones.

  • laura lou

    If someone wants to burgle your house then odds are they will – all you can do is keep your house safe. Put an alarm up to deter people, use chain locks for added security and ensure you have composite PVC doors that are anti-bump, anti-drill and anti-lock, that way all doors are as secure as possible.

    • Tyler hildebrant

      This article has great information I’m glad I ran into this as I’m about to buy a large piece of property with a lot of acreage to start our little family. I couldn’t help but notice all of the surveillance cameras at every corner and blind spot of the property. Obviously they have had issues but at least I can sleep at night knowing there most likely to intrude while the family is off to work!!! Ahhh I’m gonna sleep like a baby cuz there is only one entrance to our home with a dead bolt et and chain no windows and dogs in the yard with a ridiculous amount of lighting my family is at least 90% closer to 100% safe in the country home were buying. Not to mention were stacking good with the guns if they want to try when were home go ahead I taught the wife with how to fire like an ace!!!! 😉

  • Eagle-eyed John

    "Unfortunately, according to the statistics, within the United States, one in every six homes will be burglarized in this year alone"


    "According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics the incidence of burglary in the United States in 2002 was 27.7 households out of every 1,000."

    One in six is about 16½%

    27.7 out of 1000 is under 3%

    It's a curious coincidence that the Captcha text was "pork pies" because one of the statistics reported above is well out of order if the other is correct. I suspect the unattributed and alarming one quoted early on in the article.

    • A Secure Life

      Hi John, Good catch! Looks like we had a typo in the article. It should say one in 36 homes in the first paragraph rather than one in 6. Thanks for alerting us of this and please note that it has been corrected. Thanks and take care!

  • Vern

    This is an AWESOME post and infographic – excellent information here. Choosing the correct safe for your home can be crucial for ensuring that your valuables are protected from burglaries, fires, or other disasters.

  • Great article and infographic!

    It's true that Ohio cities really suffer from widespread burglary. In Columbus, even in nice areas like the Short North and German Village, their proximity to seedy parts of town means that break-ins, burglaries, and violent crimes will happen. It seems that the only way to really get away from burglary and other crime is to move far away into the suburbs and exurbs, but who really wants to live there? Definitely invest in security.

  • Anonymous

    Here are 2 quick tips you can do with your lighting, even if  you can't afford a security system right away.  I got these tips from reading about security online from a police informational bulletin. 

    First off, if you have any exterior lights, make sure they are way high up.  You don't want someone to be able to just reach up and unscrew the bulb.  If you can afford them, motion sensitive lights are a great deterrent and aren't that pricey.  In addition, if your delightfully nosy neighbor is up late watching Leno, she will run to the window every time they flash. 

    Oh, by the way, never be annoyed by nosy neighbors.  Unless you're doing dirt that you're trying to hide, they're an awesome asset and a gift from God when it comes to your safety and security.  If you have a genuinely caring one, you should be grateful, unless that person doesn't really have your best interest in mind.  Some people are nosy because they want to control you and that's a whole different story.  Steer clear of them.  People like that just want to get in  your life to bring trouble.

  • Anonymous

    I can't believe burglaries are still going on like this.  You know what's funny?  When I watched that movie, "Bowling for Columbine," I absolutely could not believe that people in Canada during that time were still leaving their doors open when they went out and when they went to sleep at night.

    At the time I watched the movie, I was still a little naive myself, and thought that was a good thing and it made me want to live there. Well, let me rephrase that. I still think it's a good thing and it still makes me want to live in Canada, however, I would never leave my door open when I'm not home or when I'm asleep at night.

    It would make me feel better that people in my community would seriously feel comfortable doing that, but that is just an invitation for trouble. It's been a while since I've seen the documentary, but I think I remember a woman that knew people were coming and hanging out in her house when she was gone and thought it was funny. I was a lot like this in college and I always left my door open.

  • Anonymous

    I live in a relatively suburban neighborhood where the homes are small to medium-sized and generally speaking, set fairly close together.  It is not exactly a low-income neighborhood but could aptly be described as “blue-collar” at best.  That being said, there is a criminal element to the area that keeps the local police on a pretty frequent patrol regimen. 

    When I think about these police officers patrolling in their cruisers looking for suspicious activity, I realize how difficult it would be for an individual to be seen in some of the yards that my neighbors keep up.   Some of them have high, forward facing fences to keep the street noise down and their privacy intact.  After reading this article I realize that this would make the perfect cover for a burglar trying to gain entry into somebody’s home.  A patrolling officer could never see the lower level windows or doors with the fence providing blockage to the street. 

    I wonder if these people even know what kind of target that makes them.  I could see a big fence providing a false sense of security.

  • Anonymous

    There were so many issues discussed here that I find surprising, but make perfect sense. For example, it's sometimes hard to believe that someone who lives in your neighborhood would rob you, but who would know your routine better than someone who lived close by? I was also surprised that burglary had decreased since the 1970s, but that too makes sense. After all, it's much easier for people to go online and steal someone's identity from the comfort of their own home. In other words, technology has made it possible for everyone to be lazier, even criminals.

    Of course, it doesn't hurt that many more homes are protected by security systems. Placing stickers in the windows and signs in the yard about an alarm system can certainly deter criminals. In fact, some people don't even install a system – they just place a sign in the yard and it works because a criminal doesn't know if the home really does have a system or not. However, this does make homes that don't have signage a more enticing target.

    Security systems are one of those expenses that you hope to never need, but you shouldn't be without one. Not only can they deter criminals, but they can keep your home safe in several other ways. Don't become a statistic. Get your home protected.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who has personally been a victim of burglary, I can attest to the psychological damage that is done by knowing that somebody has invaded your private space and either damaged or stolen your private property.  

    It happened about three or four years ago when I had left on an extended vacation to go visit some friends out of state.  I left my home locked and I had double checked every door and window in the house to make sure that no entry could be gained without a key.  I was confident that everything would be ok. 

    However, when I returned from my travels I discovered my rear entry door was damaged and left ajar.  I knew immediately that something bad had happened and I immediately phoned the police.  They came before I entered the house and we came to find that roughly two thousand dollars worth of my belongings were stolen. 

    I eventually recouped my losses thanks to my homeowners insurance policy, but I never leave the house feeling the same and I will never be able to fully relax when I leave town.

  • Anonymous

    Burglary may not result in direct harm, but it sure can do some indirect harm. My house has been broken into more than once. Each time is a more violated feeling. The sad part is that I do not even live in an area that you would expect a burglary to happen in. We live in a quiet rural area and we do not even have any issues with our neighbors. Those break-ins almost ruined my home financially, and for a few days there, they literally did ruin me financially. The mental end of it was even worse.

    I had to work extra hours to make up for the items that were stolen along with the cash, yet I was afraid to leave my home. My kids were there, but that just made it worse because I did not know that we would not have been broken into if we were home. Maybe we just got lucky and the did it while we were gone. Those are the kinds of thoughts that ran through my mind for a long time every single day. In fact, I actully resent the burglary is not taken more seriously. Being violated is being violated whether you are there to see it or not.

  • Anonymous

    I never knew that there was a difference between the two.  I was one of those people that used the terms interchangeably; however, it's interesting to know that for a robbery to take place, a victim has to be involved.  There also does not have to be actual violence as well.  I'm glad this is the case, because even the threat of violence is pretty darn scary and can affect a person for the rest of his or her life. 

    This can be the case with even the toughest person too.  I remember this one story that really shocked me.  It was a documentary about an elderly man that committed bank robberies when he needed money.  He was so old that the police kept letting him go, but then, he just wouldn't quit and finally they had to lock him up for life or something, I think.  Well, anyway, they interviewed one of his victims and even though most people took him for a joke, she said she was scared of elderly people now.

    I thought that was really interesting how one elderly guy with a toy gun could affect someone's life so drastically.

  • Anonymous

    Before I started reading this blog, I tried to avoid reading about burglary and crime statistics.  However, one thing I'm starting to learn is that information is definitely empowering.  Though that might sound cliché, I have learned a lot from reading this stuff.

    It is quite eye-opening to discover that the United States has such a high rate of burglary. It also makes a lot of sense that burglary creates a different type of victim. Though it is not a violent crime, according to this article, it still causes entire families to feel victimized and vulnerable.

    As with most things, I imagine perpetrators of burglary are often people that need compassion (or needed compassion) at one point in their lives. However, they are at a point where they are making choices to hurt others instead of helping themselves.

    I remember when I was younger in high school and junior high school, there were lots of girls who shoplifted.  It was never something that I could do. 

    Most of those girls seemed to feel entitled to steal those things because their families didn't have the money to buy them. I never understood that.

  • Anonymous

    What freaks me out with these burglry statistics is the gun thing. With the Colorado shooting, the sales of guns skyrocketed. I am a gun owner myself, but I use mine for pleasure. I don't expect to ever have to use it for defense. But I know some homeowners and citizens are just so fed up lately that burglars might really want to think twice. My cash is not worth someone's life. That's why I keep a low profile on my financial situation. If people think I do not have anything worth taking, they won't bother.

    But the crime rate is rising. People are getting desperate. That means there are going to be more break-ins and more deaths. And the really sad part is that someone is going to get hurt and the homeowner will end up paying for it. You can't take a life without having some guilt or remorse about it later, or so I would assume. And yet, some of these people that are breaking into homes feel like they have no other choice. It is a scary circle and there seems to be no end in sight. In fact, the circle it getting smaller because reactions are getting faster and people are paranoid. I hope something changes for the better soon.

  • Anonymous

    I am one of the fortunate few to have never been a victim of burglary.  I have lived in pretty urban areas for most of the last decade and even in some places that would be considered high risk for both a residence as well as a place to keep a vehicle.  However, using some common sense and a little foresight, I have been able to avoid becoming a target and a victim.

    The first thing I do is look at my property from the perspective of a potential burglar.  What I mean when I say this is that I do not leave anything of value out in the conspicuous open that could be tempting to people of lesser moral standards.  I never leave things out in plain sight in my car or in the windows of my apartment and wouldn’t you know it, no theft has occurred.

    Secondly, I take great care to make sure my vehicle is in the safest place possible.  I park in a garage now, but when I was still street parking, I would always find a well lit area.

  • a seeker of security

    Great article. One thing you don't mention is protecting a homes weakest link, its windows.

    We put our Armor Glass security film on a lady's house last year. Five days later someone tried to break in, and failed!  I suggest it as a solution.

    • anon

      Security film – great job!  I had 3M security film (Ultra 1200, I think it was called) installed recently on more vulnerable windows.  This is a great product, and comes in varying grades, from light, to heavy-duty.  You can also have an additional layer put on for added protection.

      More people should be aware that security film is available to protect windows.  I don't see much in the way of advertising for this product, unfortunately.  Also, don't forget the heavy-duty caulking to finish the job properly, this bonds the film to the window frame.  

      Check with local auto-glass companies to find out  which ones install security film on homes as well as car windows.

  • Anonymous

    I have heard a lot of statistics thrown around regarding overall crime rates in the United States, especially regarding burglary and theft.  Make no mistake about it, these are trying economic times in our country and around the world.  With all the struggles that people are dealing with as individuals, it means that there are far more people in the world that are forced to make desperate decisions regarding their own well being and subsequently, crime is on the rise.

    Now more than ever, it is important to protect what is yours and protect those who are closest to you.  Simply locking the doors at night and when you leave for work in the morning is good, but really you need a lot more than that to ensure your safety and security.  Finding a security and monitoring service that you can afford and that will watch over you and your property is a great and almost necessary measure to take when providing for your own safety. 

    You cannot be watching 24 hours a day, but should you be fortunate to afford it, you can have somebody do it for you.

  • Anonymous

    Burglary is just one of the many reasons that I moved out of town and into the country. I can still get robbed in the country, but there are not as many people around to see if I have anything worth taking. It's also pretty dark out here, so they would have to have some serious night vision or something to get around out here. Never the less, I still take caution when it comes to securing my home.

    I have lived in two houses that got broken into. One of them happened while I was not at home and the other one happened while I was at home. I was unprepared and it had an enormous impact on my life that most people don't even know about. I have also had two vehicles stolen and my truck broken into twice. Two must be my magic number or something.

    The funny thing was, I always thought that break ins happened at night. But only one of the times that my house or car were broken into was it night time. The other times it was daylight and it did not take very long for them to get what they wanted. I am just glad that my children never got hurt. Now I am more careful and use an alarm system so that I at least have some kind of warning. Even in the country, there is still that chance and it's one I am not willing to take.

    • Dillard

      I take it that you do not believe in arming yourself? 

      I've had 2 homes broken in to and had things taken, many things the first time.

      I was not at home either time.

      I feel great anger thinking that things I have worked for to purchase have been taken by some low life. 

      I will defend my family, myself, and things I have worked for.

      In other words, things in my home are not worth your life..

      Thank you…………..Dillard Bard 

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who has ever had anything stolen from them knows that the effects of the incident are far reaching, and even more so than one may think initially. 
    The feeling of loss and violation that the article mentions is something that have experienced firsthand and never want to feel again.  It made me fear for my own safety, the safety of my family and the security of my property and belongings.  There are items that go well beyond any kind of monetary value to me such as pictures and family heirlooms.  Losing those could never be made up for.
    Fortunately, the break in only netted a few electronic items such as my digital camera and laptop computer which I had pretty well backed up onto an external hard drive.  Altogether, about $2,000 worth of property was taken from the premises, but it could have been worse.

    What I did not expect though was that when I filed an insurance claim, that I would suddenly become under suspicion by my insurance provider.  My premiums have since gone up and I’m not sure it was worth the claim.  I certainly did not see that coming.

  • Anonymous

    If you have ever wondered what the first room of the house to be burglarized is (the master bedroom), or the most popular time for a home to be burglarized (between 10am and 3pm), then this article was written just for you! The author really went to great lengths to accurately compile all types of different burglary stats and numbers. Not only that, but there are also clear lessons drawn.

    One of the things that this article brought to my attention is a reiteration of the point that burglars are really just criminals of opportunity. By making it more difficult for them to gain access to your home (or at least thinking that it will more difficult to gain access), you will definitely skyrocket your chances of avoiding such a crime.

    It also was helpful to know that by and large these criminals are teenagers or young adult males. I suppose I had always thought about the career type criminal in their 30s or 40s was sort of the typical burglar. But knowing this it makes it easier to take definite precautions.

  • Anonymous

    Whoa, one in six homes, really?  That's awful.  You're right when you state that people seem to think of burglary as a lesser crime.  However, just because it is not violent, does not mean it can't have an awful effect.  It is likely so frustrating to try and replace your valuables after a burglary.  You might lose peace of mind after this and so might your neighbors. 

    I also did not know that there was a difference between burglary and robbery.  Really? You learn something new every day.  I am thinking that theft is then like robbery except without a threat attached to it, but that's just me guessing. 

    It was also interesting to learn that some states call it a felony and others a misdemeanor.  This is quite a difference when it comes to how the perpetrator's life will be after the crime is committed.  I am surprised that it is different for each state.  I mean felonies and misdemeanors are so different.  Felonies have long sentences and you cannot get a job or live a normal life after because of the stigma.  A misdemeanor is often something that people overlook as a foolish, youthful mistake.  What a shocking difference.

  • Anonymous

    Sometimes I think we are getting robbed no matter where we turn. If you happen to be home and a thief breaks in, you might try to hurt him. If you succees, he can then sue you for his pains, even though he broke into your home. I know a lot of people who operate under the premise that they don't need an alarm because they will handle it themselves if someone breaks in. I do not think that they are aware that they are setting themselves up to be legally robbed by using this method.

    If you do happen to have our home broken into, make sure to follow up with everything. When I was robbed, they used my credit cards, but I could not get anything done or even get any information from the places they used my credit cards at. They told me it was a violation of the person's privacy for me to have that information. I had to get a police report in order to obtain it. When I went to get the police report, they had returned it to the stations because it had been filled out incorrectly. This went on for 6 months before I finally gave up.

  • Anonymous

    While it is certainly true that burglaries (as a percentage) have declined in the USA since 1970, I am also equally sure that many less people would admit to feeling safer today than they did even just a decade ago. This article provides a number of statistics and information which may help us to understand the mindset of the typical burglar.

    According to the burglary statistics, the first room of the house to be robbed is the master bedroom. It seems that this is the most common place for hiding things like jewelry, collectibles, safes and even loose cash. If you have anything like this (or anything else that might look valuable to a burglar) you may want to consider moving it into another room and maybe even attempting to hide them better.

    You may also find it interesting to take note of the times when most home burglaries occur. This is between 10am and 3pm. Many people are under the impression that burglaries occur in the dead of night. However, I think that most burglars would rather steal your stuff at a time they knew all the adults were at work.

  • Anonymous

    The first paragraph in this article asks how many people you know who have been burglarized. Sadly enough, I actually had to think about it and realized it would take me too much time to tally up not only how many people I knew who had been a victim of this crime, but how many times it had happened to me. And really, there are some scary people out there who will do whatever it takes to get whatever they want. And it does not matter to them who gets hurt in the process.

    For instance, my house was broken into through my air conditioner once. I locked the house up before I went to bed, like I always do. But that was not enough. While I slept, they pushed in the air conditioner and robbed my house. I am almost grateful that I am a sound sleeper because I can imagine that I would have confronted them and if I did, I could have gotten hurt. It does not just happen in bad neighborhoods or while you are not at home. It happens at any place and any time. Just the thought of it makes me want to upgrade my home security system.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the better articles that I have seen on burglary and crime in quite a while. Rather than just simply pointing fingers or trying to blame one thing or another, the author takes a rather broad view of crime statistics, including burglary. It strikes me as knowledgeable and, more importantly, honest.

    I enjoyed the logical approach taken to debunk the idea that the legalization of certain types of crime has played a part in the reduction of burglaries. Obviously, any thinking person can realize that there have not been any changes made in the area of property crime laws.

    It is also interesting to note that when security systems first came onto the general market they were somewhat unreliable and very expensive. This meant that the criminals were not really afraid of them. However, technology over the years has greatly improved and this may have played a role in the declining burglary rates.

    Finally, the idea that maybe we do not really want to know the precise reasons for these declines in crimes may have some merit. Knowing may serve to change our outlooks.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very thorough and wide view of burglary. I think an often overlooked point about burglary is how this crime affects its victims. In most cases, people may not even consider this to be one of the more serious crimes, since they think it is only property which is taken or damaged. I totally agree with the author who points out the fact that this is certainly not a victimless crime, as many people seem to indicate.

    Burglary actually has the chance to really affect the victim emotionally. In many cases, those who have been burglarized are no longer even able to feel safe in their own home. Also, they live every day with the knowledge that a perfect stranger has not only been inside their home, but actually handled and rummaged through many of their personal belongings.

    The author also brings up the fact that approximately one in every six homes in the USA will be burglarized each year. To me that is an amazing statistic, and not something we should take lightly.

  • Anonymous

    This article was a very interesting compilation of a number of statistics about burglary and crime in general. Even if you are not really a numbers person, this should be an eye opening and informative article. Additionally, it is easy to read and understand.

    Personally, I found it very interesting to examine the types of items which were commonly taken during a burglary and their average recovery rates. I expected to see a rather low rate for all of the items taken and was not disappointed. Things like money, jewelry, office equipment and household goods had a very low recovery rate. All of these were under 5 percent. On the other hand, I was a bit surprised to see that firearms had a recovery rate of over 8 percent and clothing and furs were recovered at an 11.5 percent clip.

    The author here also presents a very clear picture of what the burglar is thinking as they go through a home. The first place they hit is usually the master bedroom. They are looking for jewelry, cash, firearms and big ticket personal items. Other popular rooms are the home office and formal rooms.

  • Anonymous

    One of the things that I found fascinating about this article was the analysis of the criminals that actually commit burglary. The author correctly points out that burglary can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Obviously, a misdemeanor charge is much less serious. However, many criminals are too stupid to even really give consideration to whether the crime will be counted as a misdemeanor or a felony.

    The main determining factor in how a burglary will be charged is the state in which the crime is committed. Therefore, you would imagine that a smart crook would actually only attempt this crime in a state which imposes a much less serious sentence and charge. Yet, the statistics say this crime is about equally as common in states which have a felony charge as those who classify the crime as a misdemeanor.

    I guess the point of all this is that criminals are not really that smart. After all, if they were smart, they would probably not be criminals. The thought did also occur to me that many criminals may have issues which prevent them from traveling.

  • Anonymous

    I think that any information people can access today that will help them avoid being part of a burglary or robbery is a vital part of living in today's world. It was bad enough before the financial crisis hit. Then people were taking things because they wanted something you had or maybe to fund some kind of drug problem. Heck, I've even had my car broken into, the change left in the console and something stupid taken like a CD or something. Is that really worth time in jail?

    But today things are so bad that some people are stealing because they can't find any other means by which to get the things they need. Scratch that. There may be limited means, but most of the time the people who can't find a way to make a living may not be trying all that hard. In any event, theft has gotten worse right along with the unemployment rate. In fact, it is so bad that people are afraid to leave their gardens unattended. That is just horrible. I am not going to guard my garden. If someone is hungry enough to steal out of it, I would just give them a basket of food to take home.

  • Anonymous

    I don't even want to think about how many times I have had things stolen from me. One year I was really struggling and I didn't have a car. So I spent my last dollars to get a bicycle. I needed it to ride to work. The first night I rode it to work it got stolen! I also had two cars stolen from work. I came out after work and both times I wandered around the block thinking I must have parked it somewhere else. I knew I actually hadn't, but it's just mind blowing to have your vehicle stolen. Doesn't that stuff happen to someone else?

    I also had things stolen from my home. It was burglarized in broad daylight. They took anything I had of value that they knew about. And everything they took happened to be the things I needed for my business, so they pretty much took my business as well. Thankfully, I had a drawer full of bills and change they didn't know about. If it wasn't for that drawer I would have been completely destitute with a little boy looking to me for answers. As it is, I still struggle to get over the feeling of being violated.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the statistics provided by the author were to be expected, while others were very surprising. For example, the most commonly stolen items are those things which can quickly and easily be sold. This includes cash, electronics, gold, silver, jewelry and guns. Of course, these items are also fairly easy to grab and carry. No real surprise here. On the other hand, were you aware that most burglars enter the home through the front door?

    Actually, criminals have a number of tricks to gain access through the front door. On rare occasions, the door may even be unlocked! Many homeowners also leave a spare key under the welcome mat or within very close proximity to the door or mat. Most burglars know this and will spend a few seconds to search.

    Other common entry points include the first floor windows and the back door. These can also be pretty easy, especially if the homeowner has not added in extra measures like good deadbolts or a door with a solid steel core. Personally, I was a little surprised that only 9 percent entered through thee garage.

  • Anonymous

    I love all of the statistics and information which this article offers in support of the main points. It is one of the best that I have read regarding burglary in quite some time. I wonder if the author actually examined crime statistics on their own or if there was another piece of reference material which was used that had all of these condensed for easy consumption. In either case I am grateful for having all these numbers included.

    I think that many people will also be surprised by some of these statistics. I certainly was surprised to discover that most burglaries occurred between the hours of 10am and 3pm. Most people, me included, were likely under the impression that these crimes happened mainly at night. Of course, I suppose that the reason is because most people would be away during the day. If I was a criminal I would certainly not want to enter into a home with a high likelihood that people will be there (even if sleeping). Also, the fact that most burglaries are committed by teen agers may have something else to do with these statistics.

  • Anonymous

    This article is a very thorough examination of the issue of burglary within the USA. The author even mentions the fact that recent UN studies has shown the US to rank absolutely last (out of 68 major countries studied) in terms of their statistics. The article continues with an interesting discussion about the definitions of burglary and a number of other crimes which are commonly confused.

    The part of the article which I found to be most fascinating was the section about the most typical burglar. Before reading this I would have thought that there was likely not much in the way of common characteristics among these criminals. However, the author contends that stats show they are in their mid to late teens and they typically target homes which are located just a few miles from their own. The author also points out that it is highly unlikely your home will ever be burglarized or targeted by a professional. This also another of my questions, which is why would someone even attempt this type of crime in a state which classifies the crime as a felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor).


  • Anonymous

    I suppose one of the most commonly accepted and understood ideas in the area of burglaries are that the goal is to make your home as difficult as possible to enter. The author also confirms this, stating that the average burglar remains within the home for 8 to 12 minutes. I remember watching a show on television a few years back where the people would actually have homeowners agree to let them try and burglarize their homes. I was amazed at how fast they were usually able to get in and then how quick it took them to literally clean a place out.

    The same theory applies here. After reading this article I think most people will be even more convinced that they need to make their home more difficult to enter. Even the appearance of difficulty helps, since these people understand they must get in and then out quickly to avoid detection.

    Steps that can be taking to ensure this are putting deadbolts on doors and jams on windows and patio doors. Keep your bushes and shrubs trimmed so that they do not have any natural places to hide. Also, this has the added advantage of providing unobstructed views.


  • Anonymous

    I really liked the fact that the author actually takes the time to make a number of distinctions which are commonly misunderstood about the topic of burglary. For starters, the actual legal definition of burglary is given (it is basically breaking and entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime). It seems to me that most people do not understand this; most think that burglary is simply the theft of property, which is not technically true, although most breaking and entering is likely done for the purposes of theft.

    The author also continues by correctly pointing out that the intent of the breaking and entering could be a number of different crimes in addition to (or beside) theft. For example, someone could be breaking and entering for the purpose of kidnapping, committing rape or murder, or really anything in between.

    Another distinction is also made between burglary and robbery. In robbery, a person or victim must actually be present and the use of or threat of force must also be involved. There is no theft which needs to occur in order for burglary to have been committed, simply the act of breaking and entering with the proper intent.


  • Anonymous

    I really love how the author included some hard numbers and solid statistics in the body of this article. This proves to me that it was very well researched and thought out. I was not even aware the United Nations had done any kind of study which compares the number of burglaries and other crimes among several different nations. I also find it rather disturbing that USA finished at the top of the list in the number of burglaries (among the 68 nations studied).

    It is also quite interesting to see that the USA actually has had a significant decrease in the rate of burglary going back to 1973. At that time, there was a reported burglary for 110 of every 1,000 households. Current statistics show the rate for burglary to now be around 26 to 27 per 1,000 households.

    The author also points out that there may be a number of additional factors at work here. For one thing, the arrest rates have increased while the number of reports has decreased. Additionally, the media has caused a reduction in the reporting of crimes. These factors together may cast some doubt on the true burglary statistics.


  • Anonymous

    I understand that burglary isn't the violent crime that something like rape or murder is, but if you've never experienced having your home violated and you've never experienced something like rape, burglary might be the worst thing that ever happens to your personally. It's a violation of your privacy to be sure. When my home was robbed I had all these crazy thoughts about how someone came into my home and went through all of my things. It was horrible and it's a feeling that has yet to leave me. 

    Obviously, people aren't breaking into your home to steal things and do creepy other stuff like pilfering through your underwear drawer, but after your home gets broken into, logical thought seem to go right out the window. They want your money, not your bras but you just can't shake that image from your mind.

    In my case, there were a couple of things I was grateful for. I was glad my famly wasn't there to potentially get hurt. I was also glad that the thief did not find any of the guns that we have in our house. Can you imagine if someone stole your guns…that were registered to you, and then went out and committed a worse crime with them? Sure, you might be able to clear your name, but you might not be able to shae the feeling that something you owned had a part in doing violence to anyone.

    If your house does get robbed, make sure to be thorough when you make your police report. If something like your guns or credit cards do come up missing, you need the police to be aware of this so that you aren't held responsible for the actions of the person who stole them.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who has ever had their home broken into is sure to tell you that this crime should be taken as seriously as any other. Even if you think you don't have anything worth stealing, someone else might think you do have. Renter's insurance or homeowner's insurance can help protect you from financial loss, but nothing will help protect you from that feeling of being violated once a burglary happens. It's something that you never quite get over.

    My best advice would be to keep the outside of your house well lit and to be friendly to your neighbors. My neighbors know my habits and they tend to keep an eye on things when I'm not home. I do the same for them. Yes, I will approach an unkown visitor to their property if they aren't home. While the visitor may think it rude of me, my neighbor thanks me for looking out for him and his family.

    You can also avoid problems by avoiding having strangers in my home. When my brother was selling my car for me and the potential buyer wanted to use my bathroom, I'm sure he thought I was incredibly rude when I politely declined to let him use it. But I learned my lesson long ago when my house was robbed. Today, unless I know and trust you, you aren't coming into my porch, much less my living room or any other room in the house.

  • Eurydice

    I found this piece really interesting on a couple of levels.  First of all, I have a real hard time believing the statistics that the author laid forth about how much is stolen put into monetary terms.  I suppose, I mean I am willing to believe that it is true, but it just seems like that is a legitimate portion of our gross domestic product that is getting reassigned due to theft.  Put into those kinds of terms, it is astonishing that we live with this level of crime in our nation and it has not improved over time.  I understand that there will always be crime but the fact that we have not grown smarter as species to be able to overcome the challenges that lead to crime such as under-education, severe economic disparity, and outright poverty.  Perhaps some day the smart people of the country and the world will get fed up with playing the same old game and make some changes that benefit everyone and lower the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” who are pushed to desperate measures as a result of desperate times. 

    Until that day, there will always be job security in law enforcement, home security, and selling guns, but that is a topic for another day.  The other thing that this article got me thinking about was how I would perform a burglary if I was motivated to do so.  The statistics about how close to the targeted home the burglar lives and what times of day the event usually occurs both made me think about how much more likely it is that a burglary would be successful if it is going against those trends.  Certainly there are actual statistics that can be researched to find out. 

    With that paradigm in mind, I would target a neighborhood outside of the city I live in, probably an hour away or more.   I would visit the area several times during the day to see the patterns of local residents and note the times they come and go from their homes.  I would observe the area to see if home security systems were in place on potential targets.  This is one case where the security signs would work well.  Even if a house was bluffing, a house without signs can likely be spotted now because the security companies essentially use your house for advertising.  I would mark two or three homes for the big event and make arrangements to rent a car.  I would loan a friend my credit card to go purchase groceries with so that I would have a time stamped alibi as to where I was during that time period and then head for my jackpot.

    Sorry, I got a little carried away there.  Anyway, the article made me think about this sort of thing in a different sense.  That was interesting and thought provoking, even if on a criminal level.

  • Anonymous

    This article was an insightful look at the crime problem we have here in the United States.  Some of the statistics were astonishing in how much money is stolen out of people’s homes every year.  I also liked some of the inferences that the author made about causes for the crime to be higher in certain times of year and certain hours of the day.  It got me thinking about the cycle of the school year and how it impacts the crime level around the country.

    I lived in Hawaii for a short time and a good friend of mine was a teacher there.  The Hawaii school system is a fundamentally challenged institution due to lack of funding and other things, but one thing I thought the Hawaii School Board did properly was change their school year from the traditional three month summer break model, to the year-round school year model that keeps them in school for shorter stretches of time, but more periods of “on-time” than usual. 

    This was beneficial on a number of levels.  Number one, it helped children of economically challenged families maintain momentum through the learning process required to graduate.  A common problem in the traditional school year was that kids who came from poorer families generally were not as involved in extracurricular activities as kids who had more financially independent parents.  This time spent idle lead to them losing some of the skills they learned over the past nine months to attrition and then having to play catch-up once school restarted. 

    Under the new system, the students still get nearly the same amount of time off over the course of the school year, but their typical holiday breaks are much longer (an example is that spring break would be an extra week and half long versus the typical week or so that a traditional school year allows) and the summer break is much shorter.  As expected, the gap between the comprehension and retention levels of students in low income families and other economic demographics lessened significantly. 
    I would suspect that the crime level throughout the community likely shrank as well.  I think a great deal of the reason crime and theft is such a problem with children or any part of the population for that matter, is that idle time truly does breed idle minds.  A lot of these kids and adults cannot find jobs and have copious amounts of time to think about what they can do to make a buck!  Desperate times lead to desperate measures and it does not take any genius to connect the dots.

    Structure and order begets structure and order.  People who have things to do tend to stick to the script a bit more when it comes to society.  They have a comprehension of contribution and it is disappointing that not everyone can think that way, but in the meantime we just have to do the best we can.  Year round school is a start.

  • Anonymous

    One more thing comes to mind…

    Since the arrest and incarceration rates are increasing it would be helpful to see a criminal be punished in order to set a precedent for others who are thinking of committing the crime.  The fact is, just like in the instance where my neighbor was burglarized twice, others are reluctant to get involved for fear that they might also be victimized.  On my block, there were some neighbors who told us in private that they had heard noise or seen suspicious characters, but when questioned by police said they were asleep.  I think it should be part of a good Samaritan conduct law to come forward.  I know police make an effort to provide some protection to citizens who come forward and that fact should be made more well-known to would-be witnesses.

    The fact that people do not trust the officials that are supposed to provide protection is also unfortunate.  This may indeed have explained the lowered rates of burglary during that time frame.  However, the decline in the burglary rate, which the author focuses on for much of this article, is no longer the case.  Therefore, examining the reasons behind the decline, while relevant historically, do not specifically help to understand today’s crime climate.

    The tips provided in the update about when and where burglars go when entering a home were very helpful.  I definitely did not expect that the master bedroom would be the first place a burglar would look to steal things.  I think just being aware of this is going to cause me to change my habits so as to be less predictable to thieves and burglars.

    Overall, I would say that is the biggest take-home message I got from this article: Do not be predicable.  Make your home less of a target by making it less vulnerable, and make it hidden if the home is vulnerable (such as when you are on vacation).  Should your home be broken into despite all precautions, do not keep your valuables where they will be easily found and place the most valuable small items in a secure safe.   The statistics can show you where burglars have made progress and give a reliable indicator for what a burglar looks for when targeting a home.  Taking precautions to avoid those likely scenarios will help you and your family keep from becoming part of the statistic yourselves.

    If your home looks like a target, it is a target. Criminals, and burglars in particular are simply looking for easy pickings. While it is true that most professional burglars could get into to almost any home, there are quite a few that would command a whole lot more time, effort, energy and trouble than they might consider it to be worth. The whole idea is to do a quick job and get out of there before anyone discovers them and calls the police, even though some of your neighbors won't do even that much!

  • Anonymous

    I like this aspect of the law, since entering a structure without breaking in, such as walking through an unlocked door to a dorm, is still a crime, and if the person did not steal anything it would be difficult to prove in court that there was any intent.  In fact, the burglar could easily use the excuse that he or she was looking for a friend if it were legal to just enter into any private structure you wanted to at any time; but we all know that you cannot simply go house to house opening people’s front doors and looking in every room to find someone.  You are not even allowed to open an ex-girlfriend’s front door without permission just to look for the XBox you lent her three weeks ago.  That would count as burglary, too.

    There are times, however, when burglary does involve a break-in, and this can be even more devastating.  Where I live, these crimes are often perpetrated by people who are addicted to hard drugs.  The figures in the article said that the average burglary costs $1,675, which seems like a low number in many instances.  I think that that number most definitely includes damages to the home made by breaking and entering.  Drug related crimes tend to do more damage than they are worth: For instance, a $2,000 Mahogany door will be broken and the frame jammed and destroyed, just so that the perpetrators can get away with an iPod and $500 of DVDs.  This alone is reason enough to take extra security precautions.  Also, in many neighborhoods it has been a problem in the past that burglars will enter a structure to steal copper pipes or other pieces of metal for selling as scrap.  This type of crime is usually perpetrated by drug addicts but also by desperate thieves as well.

    Given the repercussions of a burglary for the victims and those around them, it is hardly surprising that this is considered a felony crime in some states.  However, even the fact that this punishment is on the line is clearly not a deterrent, since the burglary rates in the US are so unusually high.  The article seems a little dated, as well, since with the fall of the US and world economy in recent times, drug abuse has risen as well as poverty, making criminals more desperate and willing to go farther to get what they want than they might have been before.  My question about the statistics is, Why does Oman have no burglary to speak of?  Perhaps the US can take a lesson from this country and culture so as to lower the unusually high rates of burglary that we have in our own country.

    It seems almost paradoxical that people are less willing to report violent crimes to the police these days.  I was shocked at this statistic and also a bit in awe. But then the more I think about it, it does actually make sense.

  • Anonymous

    I must admit to being surprised to read that people consider burglary a lesser crime.  It can take a heavy emotional toll on the owner of the structure, as pointed out in the article.  Burglary can also take a toll on the friends and neighbors emotionally, since they will have to offer support to the person who was burgled while also fearing for their own safety.  In my eyes, a burglary is just as damaging as a mild assault or theft.

    One in six homes is quite a high number when you stop and think about it.  I live in an urban neighborhood and there are seven homes on one side of my block.  That means, of the fourteen homes on either side of the street here, about two will be the target for burglary.  Because I have lived here for a long time, I happen to know that at least one home across the street alone was targeted twice in the past few years.  The family that owned that home had to move after the second break-in because they felt they were specifically targeted, and most of the other neighbors thought it was because of the teenage daughter and her hoodlum friends, and most of us took extra precautions after that.  My household, for instance, installed locking windows and put our lights on a timer, plus started to pay a friend’s daughter to stay over while we were on vacation.  We also took action on our dream of owning a dog.  Most of us thought that when the family across the street moved out that this may not be the end, and a lot of times neighbors will call us to report if there are suspicious vehicles on the block or if they have noticed someone new on the street regularly that does not seem to live nearby.  This article confirmed my feelings that even though I live in a decent neighborhood that burglary really can happen.  Considering that the people who live just on my block are much more on guard even five years after our neighbor moved out who had been burgled twice says a lot about the fear and anxiety that a burglary causes.

    Burglary, according to this article, is unlawful breaking and entering into a structure.  However, the way the law is actually stated, burglary could occur without a structure being broken into.  When I was in college, for example, there were a rash of computer thefts due to people who left their dorm rooms unlocked.  Under the strict definition of burglary, a dorm room with an unlocked door still cannot be entered without permission.  Even if the result was only that the thief looked around and did not find a laptop that was easy to steal, he or she would have been committing an act of burglary. Or, possibly the act would not technically count as burglary since there was no unlawful breaking, only entering. Actually, the more I think about it the more muddled it all becomes. It is about as clear as mud!

  • Anonymous

    Get A 1911 Hand Gun.

  • Anonymous

    Care to revise your statistics following the riots in England? My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families of shop keepers and small businesses that have been affected by this tragedy. In my opinion, they should accept Bratton to Scotland Yard. Los Angeles might be  different than the UK in terms of infrastructure and the way communities are setup, but the human criminal mindset remains more or less the same.