Summary: Home invasion and burglary are one of the biggest crime problems in America. We look at how they do it, when they do it, and how to keep your property and your loved ones safe from criminals who want to break into your home.
Home burglary statistics are pretty clear. Whether you’re a renter or a homeowner, you are just as likely to be the victim of a home break-in. In fact, over two thirds of break-ins are residential, and only under 17% of American families are properly protected with the right home surveillance systems. A study in Baltimore, Maryland showed that after installing 500 cameras in a 50 block area, crime rates including burglaries steadily dropped.
Home Invasion or Home Burglary – What’s the Difference?
You might have heard the terms home invasion and burglary, and wondered what the differences are. Well here’s the bottom line.
- A Home Invasion is when someone enters your house with significant force, perhaps breaking a window or a door, and forcibly entering the premises.
- A Home Burglary is when someone enters your house with the intent to commit a crime, such as stealing your property. They may not need to use force to do this at all.
For this article, we will use them interchangeably to keep things simple.
Home Burglary Statistics by State
America has one of the highest rates of home invasions in the world, and these home burglary statistics show the States which have it worst of all, along with the amount of burglaries per 100,000 residents.
- New Mexico – 1,046.0
- Arkansas – 835.7
- Louisiana – 824.5
- Alabama – 819.0
- Mississippi – 813.3
- North Carolina – 798.2
- Washington – 783.0
- Nevada – 772.3
- Oklahoma – 760.9
- South Carolina – 759.9
Whatever state you live in, over two-million home burglaries are reported each year in the United States. So here’s what you need to know for home burglary prevention, to keep safe.
When Do Burglaries Occur
You might think that most burglaries would happen in the night time, when less people are on the streets, and the criminals can take advantage of the dark. However, you couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, the majority of burglaries happen between 6am and 6pm, with the most common time being between 10am and 3pm. This is likely to be because burglars do not want to risk running into the occupants of the house, and the middle of the day is the most likely time to find a house empty.
July and August are the most common months for home break-ins, which coincides with the time that homeowners are likely to be on holiday. February is the least common month for burglaries of all kinds.
How Burglars Target Houses
Without even realizing it, you might be making your home a target for burglars. Here are some of the things burglars look for, many of which can be prevented.
- Empty homes. This could be shown by a lawn which needs mowing, or a mailbox which is overflowing with unopened post.
- Easy access with significant cover. Do you have a door around the side of your house which has only one lock? What about a garage door which you leave open, even to take in groceries from the car? High privacy fences are brilliant for criminals, as once they are inside, they can’t be seen.
- Solitary lifestyle. If your neighbors do not know you well, then they might not consider that the ‘workmen’ entering your home are actually criminals. A good relationship with your neighbors also means they can water plants, take in mail, and stop your home looking empty while you’re away.
- Lack of security. A burglar will almost certainly check to see if you have security cameras or any kind of system installed. On seeing this, they will be sure to think twice.
- You would never think of displaying a list of your valuables for the world to see. But if you have a bumper sticker on your car which says you are a member of the NRA, or your kid is a college student, you might well be telling burglars that you have guns or technology in the house.
How Burglars Break into Homes
The most common way that burglars break into homes is not by forced entry. In fact, it’s usually because of unlocked doors or windows. Even if the weather gets hot, this is an absolute rule, never leave your windows or doors open. Remember that the summer months are the most common for break-ins.
Burglars will look for homes which have cover, such as high privacy fences, tall trees or shrubs, or even hedges. They might put a flyer on your door to stake out the property, or even ring the doorbell in the middle of the day to see what your normal patterns are, and if someone is likely to be home at that time.
If they need to make a forced entry, they are more likely to kick a door down than try to break a window, as broken glass draws more attention than a loud bang.
What Burglars Look For
Most burglars head straight for the master bedrooms first, which is where jewelry and other valuables are often kept. If you want to know what to keep under lock and key, here are the most commonly stolen items:
- Drugs (Think medicine cabinet)
- Electronics including laptops and tablet devices
- Car keys
- Personal information to sell on
- Credit cards
Home Burglary Prevention – Simple Ways to keep the Robbers Away
There are a lot of things that you can do to keep yourself safe from home burglary. Here are some of the most important to remember.
- Be Vacation Savvy: You want to enjoy your time away, so make sure to prepare well. Tell your neighbors where you’re going, make sure to put a stop on your mail, turn your phone ringer down to low so that no one can hear you’re not home. You can also set a timer so that your lights go on and off, or even ask a friend to park their car in your driveway for a day or two.
- Keep your Belongings Tidy: Even when you’re at home, an unkempt yard or driveway can give away more than you want it to. If burglars see kids’ toys, they know that parents live there, who likely have technology and jewelry. If they see expensive garden equipment, they might target your garage which could lead them indoors.
- Think About Privacy: While large shrubs or high fences can seem like a great way to keep prying neighbors or salesmen out, it can also be a beacon to burglars. Think about other ways to protect your privacy, such as getting a family dog, or setting up cameras.
Home surveillance systems are a great way to limit the risk of burglaries and home invasions. As well as being a visual deterrent, they have features which can counteract even the smartest burglar on the prowl. Here are some of our favorites:
Receive triggered clips automatically to your smartphone, so you always know if someone is staking out your property, or comes back more than once. You can choose between indoor and outdoor cameras so that you have full view of every area of your property.
Some systems will offer more than one mode, for example one which detects entry point motion for when you’re home and asleep, and another which detects all motion for when the house is empty. .
Advanced Lock Systems
You can even lock and unlock your door from anywhere on the globe! Let your neighbor in to make sure everything is okay, or check that your doors are all locked, all from your mobile phone.
Remote Light Control
Turn your lights on from anywhere in the world, or open your garage door. This feature makes it seem like you’re at home, even when you aren’t.
Most burglars admit to ringing the doorbell before they break into a home. If someone answers, they make up a story and leave. With a doorbell camera and microphone you can speak to whoever arrives at your door, and they would never know you aren’t at home.
Many burglars will try to destroy your surveillance tools. Some options to keep this from happening are cloud based storage so that your footage is never lost, wireless technology so that a wire can’t be snipped-deactivating an alarm, as well as tools such as Crash and Smash, which keeps your control panel working even if it’s damaged.