Do you feel safe in your home? What about when you’re not there? Home security is an everyday concern for many, so it’s important that you are taking the proper precautions to protect your valuables and loved ones. To help you understand the patterns and behavior of burglars, we have a guide on burglary statistics and how to safeguard your home.
Are people securing their homes?
We surveyed 1,000 Americans about their home security and found that:
- 70 percent of people have security measures in place to keep their home from being burglarized
- Almost as many people lock their doors and windows when they are home (40 percent) compared to when they aren’t (46 percent) home
- Only 22 percent of respondents indicated that they use an alarm system and 22 percent said they use video cameras
- 24 percent of respondents said they owned self-defense equipment
When it comes to securing their homes, respondents indicated that they are more likely to use old-fashioned techniques such as deadlocks (40 percent) on their doors rather than relying on technology such as alarm systems (22 percent) or video cameras (22 percent).
Seasonal break-in concerns
The majority of respondents (56 percent) were most worried about a home burglary in the summer. Half as many (26 percent) were concerned about winter and only 9 percent were worried about spring and 9 percent in the fall. These concerns align with seasonal burglary statistics. According to the FBI, burglaries are most likely to occur during the summer months, between noon and 4 p.m.
Despite the tendency for people to take precautions by having self-defense equipment and locking doors when they’re inside, a majority of break-ins happen when people are not there to protect the home.
Preventing a seasonal break-ins
The most break-ins occur in the summer months. This is when Americans are most likely to be on vacation or outside enjoying a sunny day. The second most popular season for break-ins is winter. During the holidays, people take trips to visit family and are away from their homes. This is also the time of year when they have valuable presents in their homes.
To prevent holiday break-ins this season:
- Leave lights on a timer so it looks like you are home throughout the day. Break-ins are most likely to occur between noon and 4 p.m. If you aren’t home during those hours, leave lights or music on a timer so it seems like you are.
- Don’t leave signs that you are gone such as mail piled up in the mailbox or garbage cans out in the street for too long. The average break-in lasts between eight to 10 minutes. Leaving signs you are gone lets a burglar know they have plenty of time to steal your belongings.
- Don’t leave boxes from your holiday gifts on the curb. Forty-seven percent of burglaries aren’t planned. Someone might be passing by and see your new TV or PlayStation box on the curb which triggers them to try to break in.
- Avoid posting that you are out of town on social media. Eighty-five percent of burglars know their victims so they could be following your public social media account.
Burglaries statistics by state
Wondering how your state compares? The FBI has a granular look at crime rates in your state. Below are the top 10 states with the most and least burglaries per hundred thousand residents in 2018.
Burglary vs. robbery
It is easy to misconstrue a burglary from a robbery. While they may seem similar, they are two very distinct crimes that have different implications and investigative processes.
Burglary is classified as a property crime, whereas a robbery is classified as a violent crime.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, a burglary is an “unlawful or forcible entry or attempted entry of a structure with the intent to commit a felony or theft.” The specifics of a burglary is relative based on your state laws.
On the other hand, a robbery is classified as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”
Since robberies are classified as violent crimes, if someone is convicted of a robbery they will find that it carries a more severe sentence than a burglary.
Additional burglary statistics
In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that there were 1.3 million household burglaries, which was a 4.72 percent increase from the previous year. It’s important to be aware of when they happen so you can reduce your risk.
1. Burglaries are most likely to occur during the middle of the day
According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 346,312 daytime burglaries compared to 218,028 burglaries that occurred at night.
This is most likely because the daytime is when your home is left unoccupied. People have daily routines. Criminals are able to track this and take advantage of the times you aren’t home.
2. Burglaries are most likely to happen in the summer months
Seasonality can impact the number of burglaries that occur. These crimes are most likely to occur during the summer months. This is most likely due to a combination of good weather, longer days and an increase in vacations. With more daylight, there is a larger window of opportunity for burglars to break into homes.
We found that the majority of survey respondents (54 percent) indicated that they are most concerned about home burglaries during the summer months.
3 Burglaries are more likely to occur in rural states
According to the FBI, New Mexico, Mississippi and Oklahoma have the highest burglary rate per 100,000 residents. In contrast, Virginia, New York and New Hampshire have the lowest.
4. A burglary occurs every 23 seconds
According to burglary statistics from the FBI, burglaries happen every 23 seconds. This means, there are nearly three homes burglarized every minute and 3,757 burglaries each day.
5. Your bedroom is most likely to be the target of a burglary
Burglars have to be strategic with their time, and this includes targeting the rooms that are most valuable. According to the American Society of Criminology, in two-story homes, burglars will bypass the living areas and head straight for the upstairs bedrooms where they will find the most coveted items.
When scouring the bedroom for your belongings, burglars gravitate toward small, valuable items. Rather than big bulky items like TVs that are difficult to carry, they steal small items that can fit into their pockets in order to avoid unwanted attention as they exit the home.
6. The average cost of a burglary is $2,799
The cost of a burglary is steep. At $2,799 this could set apartment renters back a couple months’ rent. Many renters get renters insurance so they can recoup these losses if burglary were to happen. While it is possible to get back your monetary loss, the feeling of security in your house is harder to recover.
7. White men are most likely to break into your home
According to the FBI, 80.4 percent of men are found to be the ones breaking in compared to only 19.6 percent of women.
When looking at race or ethnicity in 2018, the FBI found that 68.1 percent of all offenders were Caucasian, 29.4 percent were African American,1.2 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.1 percent were Asian and 0.2 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
8. Only 23 percent of U.S. households are professionally monitored
According to senior analyst Dina Abdelrazik at Parks Associates, only 23 percent of all U.S. households with broadband internet have a professionally monitored security system and 2.5 percent have a self-monitored system.
How to prevent a break-in
While thieves can be tricky, there are precautions you can take to prevent a break-in in your home. Here are some ways to prevent a break-in.
Install a home security system
The installation of a home security system not only will help secure your home, but it will also give you more peace of mind when you are away. Many systems include video cameras that allow you to see who is on your property at all times of the day.
Park your car in the driveway
This can be an indicator that you are home and burglars will be hesitant to break in fear that they will encounter someone. If you are on vacation, have your neighbor use your driveway as a parking spot to deter any possible burglars.
Lock doors and windows
Locking all points of entry will provide an additional layer of protection when you are away from your home. If you leave a door unlocked or window cracked it will be an invitation for any intruder looking for an easy target.
Install timers for your lights
Even if you are away from your home, putting your lights on timers can give the illusion that someone is home, which can deter an intruder from breaking in.
Be careful on social media
Social media can be a way that burglars track you. Posting that you are at a coffee shop or on vacation will let them know when your home is free to attack. Be cognizant of your social media use, especially when you are not home.
Advertise your dog
Your dog can deter a burglar even if it’s harmless. A simple “beware of dog” sign can make a burglar second guess if they should break-in.
Don’t let the mail build-up
Allowing your mail to pile up is a clear indicator that you have not been home for quite some time. This will make your home an easy target.
Hide ladders and tools
Don’t give burglars any accessories to break into your home. Hide or keep your tools in a safe place where no one can access them but you.
Now that you are more aware of the upward trend in home burglaries in the past years. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to better secure your home or apartment. It is always better to be prepared than to realize you have been the victim of a burglary.
This study was conducted for Apartment Guide using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents in the United States. The survey was conducted in November 2019.