By Jack Lee
A home burglary happens about every 18 seconds in the United States. That figure translates to approximately 4,800 incidences each day. These are clearly unnerving statistics, but they highlight the fact that burglary is a crime that may affect any American household. The good news is, the more you learn about burglaries, the better you can help protect your home and family.
Here are 10 facts and preventative measures regarding burglaries that those concerned about home security should know.
1. Burglars have conscious intention to avoid homes with security systems.
Based on a report by the University of North Carolina (Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology), about 60% of convicted burglars affirm that the presence of a security system influenced their decision to target another home.
2. Most burglaries occur between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of home burglaries take place during daylight hours, not at night. That’s because most people are at work or school—which reduces the chance the burglar will be noticed.
3. The majority of break-ins are committed by burglars who live in proximity of their targets.
The typical burglar resides within two miles of the target home. Because they live close, it’s easy for them to learn your family’s daily schedule and strike when they know you’re not home. They may also check for signs that you’re on vacation—such as flyers or newspapers piling up at your door, an un-mowed lawn, or trash cans left at the curb.
4. Most criminals can burglarize a home in less than ten minutes.
Burglars look for homes that are easy targets. That’s why it doesn’t take much time for most intruders to break into a house, get what they want, and take off before being noticed.
5. Almost 30% of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window.
A surprising number of burglars gain access to homes through opened or unlocked entrances. First floor windows and doors are convenient and especially well-liked by burglars—particularly when a burglar can be concealed behind shrubs and trees.
6. An astonishing 34% of burglars enter through the front door.
Whether they walk through an open front door or kick in a locked one, burglars aren’t shy about using the home’s initial entry point.
7. Burglars usually choose to rob the master bedroom first.
Unfortunately, most people don’t hide their valuable items carefully, and burglars know it. Once they break in, burglars head straight for the master bedroom, where they scavenge through dresser drawers and nightstands, look under mattresses, and search closets. Cash, jewelry, and weapons are some of the items a burglar wants most from the home.
8. The average property dollar loss per burglary is over $2,250.
The price of a home security system pales in comparison to the emotional and monetary cost of a burglary. The FBI reports that burglary victims in 2014 lost a total of $3.9 billion, and nearly 75% of the burgled locations were residential properties.
9. Someone is home during nearly three out of every ten burglaries.
Coming home to find your material possessions stolen is frightening enough, but victims who are in the home when the burglary occurs, experience even more trauma. According to a crime victimization survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, a household member is present during approximately 28% of burglaries, and 7% of these victims experienced some type of violent crime.
10. Only 13.6% of home burglaries in 2014 resulted in arrests.
Typically, burglaries are difficult crimes to solve…even if the burglar is found, you may not be reunited with your lost property.
A Favorite Point of Entry: The Garage
Why the Garage?
Next to three major entry points (front door, back door, 1 st floor windows) burglars do like to enter the garage door. It is a common entry point leading burglars directly to a room full of expensive tools, sports equipment, vehicles and more. It provides some degree of seclusion from curious neighbors. In addition, there are homeowners that don’t pay attention to their garage doors. That should not be the case, it literally takes a burglar seconds, to access and make his way into your garage.
How Can I Secure It?
Most break-ins through the garage door are due to homeowner negligence. Many homeowners leave the door open, unlocked or leave the door connecting their garage to their home unlocked. Never leave the garage door, or any door, open.
Other burglars try their luck controlling automatic garage door openers. Older automatic openers featured the same code, which obviously poses a serious security risk. If you own an older garage door opener, it’s time to upgrade. Second generation openers feature “dip switches” that you can set to a unique code. The problem with this is that many owners left the default code unchanged. Fast forward a few years; automatic openers now feature a rolling code, which gives you a different code every time you open it with the remote. Just a reminder, if you’re using a keychain remote, never leave it in your car as it is easily stolen.
If your home employs a sprinkler system for watering the lawn and garden, install a smart Yardian controller (www.yardian.com). It automatically comes with a digital security camera that can be conveniently positioned in the garage. Now you can see inside the garage in real time, 24/7 via a remote app on your mobile phone.
And finally, put a deadbolt lock on the door that separates your house from the garage. That way, you can secure your home and stop the burglar from taking more valuables and causing possible harm to your occupants.