According to the security infographic below, in 2010, every 15 seconds a home was hit by burglary. Fortunately for homeowners there is enough research out there to help you avoid becoming the next victim. Below we will take a look at some of the most recent statistics on home burglary including: how robbers prefer to enter homes, what they prefer to steal and when they are most likely to strike. We will also offer the top five ways to deter burglars.
Security Infographic: A Burglar’s Quest
Security Infographic Tells Us a Lot about Burglars
Who is the Average Burglar?
There are always exceptions to 'averages', but through analyzing the bulk of burglary cases, profilers are able to create a picture of the 'average' home burglar. The majority of home burglaries are committed by young males under the age of twenty five.
Where Do Burglars Strike?
Most burglars will break in to houses that are close to their own home (within a couple of miles). There also seems to be varied burglary trends by geography (West vs. Midwest vs. South vs. Northeast). Just 10.8% of burglaries take place in the Northeast. 20.7% of burglaries take place in the Midwest. 47% of burglaries take place in the South (which includes Texas in this assessment). 21.4% of burglaries take place in the West. Out of all United States burglaries, 73.9% occurred within residential properties.
When Do Burglars Strike?
Burglary Statistics by Month
Statistics show that the majority of burglaries occur during the summer months of July and August. Most people believe that this is due to school vacations being during these months. During school holidays families are most likely to leave town for extended periods of time leaving their homes unoccupied and unprotected. Houses are least likely to be burglarized during February.
Burglary Statistics by Time of Day
The majority of home burglaries take place between 10am and 3pm. These are the times when most homeowners are at work and their children are at school, leaving burglars more time to scout around vacant homes for items of worth. There are also fewer neighbors around to catch them in the act. During 2010, 821,897 burglaries took place during daylight hours, while night-time break ins were almost 50% fewer (443,717 burglaries took place at night).
What Do Burglars Steal During Burglaries?
It makes sense that burglars are more likely to steal items that are easy to carry so that they can load up as many items as possible and make a quick getaway. It is also much easier for burglars to sell smaller stolen items than it is to steal large, big ticket items. In 2010, over $13 billion USD of property was stolen in home burglaries across the nation. Unfortunately for homeowners, only 21% of property that was stolen was actually recovered.
$1,150,000,000 (Yes, that is BILLIONS!) worth of money was stolen during home burglaries in 2010 alone. Only 3.2% of this money was ever recovered.
In 2010, $950,000,000 worth of electronic products were stolen. Only 4.2% of these items were recovered.
2010 saw $1,550,000,000 of jewelry stolen in burglaries. This makes up the largest value portion of all break-ins in 2010 across the U.S. 4.2% of stolen jewelry was recovered.
Clothing and Furs
$250,000,000 worth of clothing and furs were stolen in home burglaries in 2010. 11.5% of these products were recovered.
$725,000,000 worth of office equipment was stolen during 2010 home burglaries. 5.1% of these items were recovered.
During 2010, burglaries valued at $130,000,000 worth of firearms were stolen. Just 8.4% of these stolen firearms were recovered.
2010 saw $325,000,000 worth of household goods stolen in residential burglaries. 3.3% of these goods were recovered.
$225,000,000 worth of consumable goods was stolen during 2010 home robberies. 7% of these items were recovered.
What Types of Homes do Burglars Strike Most?
Burglaries are most likely to occur in single family homes that are located in the middle of a block. Burglars are not as likely to burglarize corner homes and two story single family homes as they are to strike single story homes.
How Do Burglars Enter Homes?
Most homes offer a wide variety of entrance points to burglars but some entry points are preferred over others. 34% of burglars enter homes through the front door. Most often homes with wooden front door jambs are opened by kicking them in. 23% of home burglars get access to the home through a first floor window. 22% of home burglars use the back door as an entry point. 9% of burglars access homes through the garage. 6% of burglars gain access to the home through unlocked entrance and storage areas. 4% of burglars access homes through the basement. 2% of burglaries take place through second story windows that are left open or unlocked.
How Long Will a Burglar Spend in a Home?
The average burglar will only spend between 8 to 12 minutes inside the home. The aim of any burglar is to get in and out of the home with as much goods as possible in as little time as possible in order to avoid getting caught.
What Rooms of the Home do Burglars Target?
With such a short amount of time to access homes and take what they want, burglars often head straight for the rooms where homeowners generally keep their valuables. One of the first rooms that burglars head to is the master bedroom because it is generally where jewelry, cash and personal safes are located. Once in the bedroom, the burglar will look through dresser drawers, closets, desks and safes in order to find big ticket items. Other commonly targeted rooms are the home office or formal rooms that may feature collectibles or electronic items.
What Advice Can Ex-Burglars Offer Homeowners?
Jeffrey Strain, SavingsAdvice.com blogger asked a former burglar where he should hide his valuables in his home in order to avoid losing them in a burglary. The burglar responded with a few helpful hints:
- The burglars aim is always to steal your money and your valuables AND get out of the house as soon as possible.
- If a burglar cannot locate valuables or money as soon as they look in ‘popular’ areas of the home, they will most likely tear the home apart until they find something of value.
- When keeping money in the home it is always best to keep a small amount in obvious places where burglars can find it and be satisfied. The rest of your money kept at home should be stored somewhere that is not an obvious hiding place (perhaps a messy child’s room or in an envelope underneath the trash can?).
Security Improvements That Can Help to Protect Your Home from Burglary
Since home invaders are looking for easy burglaries, there are a number of things homeowners can do to make their homes less appealing to burglars.
- Place secure locks on windows and doors and remember to lock them. Having secure locks in your home isn’t going to have an impact if you never lock them.
- Install and maintain a home alarm system. The mere presence of a house alarm system proves enough to deter a number of home intruders, but in order to truly be protected these systems should be paired with monthly monitoring.
- Have a secure and bolted down safe. Safes are a great way to keep valuables hidden and protected but smaller safes can easily be carried out of the property.
- Install motion-sensored lighting. Motion-sensored lighting keeps property well lit something that burglars shy away from. The better the light outside a home, the more likely a neighbor is to spot or identify a home intruder.
- Maintain shrubbery and vegetation. Having overgrown bushes and other vegetation outside windows and around doors provide burglars the opportunity to hide from homeowners and neighbors. Not only can this vegetation be used to lie in wait for homeowners to leave the house, but they can also be used as camouflage while ‘jimmying’ windows.
- Operate interactive home automation to turn off and on lights. Lights lead one to believe that home owners are in the home, especially when they can be seen turning off and on during the evening. Thanks to z-wave technology, home automation can now be seamlessly tied in with your alarm system for added home security.
Being Proactive Helps Prevent Burglary
Of course there is no definitive way to prevent burglary, but taking some of the preventative methods mentioned can reduce your likelihood of becoming a victim. Just a few small changes at a minimal cost can decrease your risk of burglary exponentially. These changes can also decrease the cost of renters or homeowners insurance premiums, something every home dweller should have. Even with the ‘safest house on the block’ these insurance programs ensure that not all is lost.
This infographic was created by Muhammad Saleem and produced by Rentersinsurance.com. Sources for the infographic and this article include: Burglary Prevention, Protect America Home Security, Saving Advice, Crime Doctor, ASecureLife.com, and the FBI.