According to the FBI, a home burglary in the US happens nearly every 18 seconds. That is not a comforting statistic to homeowners and renters alike and there is reason for concern. However, there are also a multitude of things that homeowners and renters can do to greatly reduce their risk of home burglaries that, many of them for free or at very little cost. All you need is to be armed with some knowledge of the risk and then the tips to lower your own risk to your home or rental. We are going to cover all of this information in this blog post so you can get started right away!
The Bad News And Then The Good News About Home Burglaries
Let’s start with the bad news… home burglaries happen frequently. As I mentioned before, about every 18 seconds a home is burglarized. Two million home burglaries are reported each year, but only about 13% of the reported burglaries are solved. The average loss reported for a burglary is about $1600.00. Thieves tend to prefer targets that have easy access… no apparent security system, no dogs, or people at home. They tend to be in a home for a very short time, on average about 6-10 minutes and they look for small, easy to carry items that have high monetary value and can be turned into cash easily, such as jewelry, laptops, digital cameras, smartphones and tablets, GPS units, and of course, cash. About 30% of home burglaries are considered unlawful entry, they were perpetrated without force, which means the burglar just opened a door or a window and let themselves in. Nearly 66% of residential burglaries occur in daylight, between the hours of 9 a.m and 3 p.m. when most people are at work or at school. The highest rate of home break-ins occur in the summer months. The Burglary Prevention Council breaks down for us of just how the burglars enter our homes:
- 34% of burglars come through the front door
- 23% come through a first floor window
- 22% are side entry break ins (sliding doors, patio entries, etc.)
- 9% are garage entry
- 4% are basement entry
- 2% are second floor entry
Burglaries cause more than just monetary loss. Family heirlooms that are stolen often cannot be replaced and many victims of home burglaries struggle with the loss of their sense of security in their homes and with uncomfortable feelings of violation and fear of it happening again. It’s not anything that anyone wants to have to go through. Seems like it’s just a lot of bad news, doesn’t it? Well, there is some good news as well. The DOJ reports that property crimes (burglaries and theft) has actually decreased from 118.1 victimization’s per 1000 households in 2014 to 110.7 per 1000 households in 2015 (the latest statistics on their website) which is a definite decrease for homeowners and renters. Hopefully the trend continues. More good news! Now that you are armed with the facts about home burglaries, how and when they happen, and by what means, you can educate yourself about how to greatly decrease your risk of being a victim of a home break in or burglary. There are plenty of ways to discourage, slow down, and outright stop a thief from breaking into your home and we will discuss many of them here.
Tips For Preventing A Burglary At Your Home
There are so many ways to reduce the risk of having your home burglarized that you can do some right now, for little or no cost. Inside of your home you can slow a potential burglar down by hiding your valuables in unexpected places and not in obvious spots like drawers and under mattresses. An example of this is to hide jewelry inside of an old vacuum cleaner in the closet, or behind air vent covers. Don’t leave laptops and cameras out on counters where they can be seen through windows. In fact, keep blinds and curtains drawn especially when you are not home so would be burglars can’t see what you have. If you can manage the cost and the responsibility, consider an indoor dog. If you have sliding doors, don’t just lock them, put a dowel or long piece of pipe in the space where the door slides so the door can’t be opened even if the lock is jimmied open or broken. Keep lights on when you are not home, and a TV or radio on. Make sure all of your windows are locked, not just latched, but locked with sash locks. Keep bushes trimmed to deter thieves from hiding behind them. Don’t put your name on the mailbox and if you have a entry keypad make sure that the pass-code numbers and letters are not worn from use. Try to block basement windows and possibly look into purchasing window well covers.
These are quick and easy ways to keep intruders at bay. If you want more security, invest in motion sensor lighting near basement windows and around your home. Double key deadbolt locks are a great investment. If an intruder does get in and grabs some of your items, they will have a hard time getting all of it out having to go out a window because the door cannot be opened from the inside without a key! Consider a side mounted lock for your garage door in case the electric garage door device is tampered with. Most importantly, try to get a wireless home alarm system. Many can be bought that you can install yourself. Make sure it has a loud siren. It can be programmed to call the police through a phone center for a monthly fee if you want. Statistics indicate that homes without security systems are 300% more likely to be broken into. A thief will generally choose a soft target over a hard one, so a home security system will make your home a much harder target. Using any of these measures or a combination of them will vastly improve your chances of not being burglarized. Think about your home’s potential weak spots and choose a method to strengthen them today!