Good news: burglary rates are dropping in the U.S. But, that doesn’t mean you should neglect the potential for a burglary in your neighborhood.
We took a deep dive into the facts involving burglaries in the U.S. to understand more behind the mind of the burglar, and to spread awareness about how homes are robbed and what you can do to best protect yours.
Most shocking home burglary statistics
Get the big picture on burglaries through the round up of the most shocking current burglary statistics below.
Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $3.4 billion in property losses in 2017. The average dollar loss per burglary offense was $2,416.
In 2017, there were an estimated 1,401,840 burglaries, a decrease of 7.6% when compared with 2016 data. The number of burglaries decreased 27.4% when compared with 2013 data and was down 37.1% when compared with the 2008 estimate.
Although it may seem like more burglaries would occur when it’s dark at night, in fact, the opposite is found to be true. Burglaries are more common to take place in the daytime.
Break ins are 6% more likely to occur during the day between 6am and 6pm while people are at work or running errands. — Alarms.org
Seasonal patterns existed in household larceny and burglary victimization rates. Rates of these household crimes tended to be higher in the summer than during other seasons of the year. — U.S. Department of Justice
Between 1993 to 2010, burglary rates were highest in the summer and nearly 11% less frequent in the winter months. — U.S. Department of Justice
The lowest amount of burglaries happen in February. — Alarms.org
34% of burglars enter through the front door. — Reolink
How many break ins happen daily?
The U.S. Department of Justice released a criminal victimization report in 2017, which found that more than 2.5 million burglaries took place in 2017. That means that nearly 7,000 burglaries occur in the U.S. every day.
People who have been victimized by burglaries often wonder, could the culprit return? Although victims often take precautions against future burglaries if it’s happened to them before, it’s common for burglars to return to the home. In fact, according to Reolink, as many as one out of every three house burglary victims is a repeat victim.
One out of every three house burglary victims is a repeat victim. — Reolink
The common rationale behind a return burglar is that they’re familiar with the layout of the home, may know where you keep other valuable items that they want to take, and know when you’re likely to be away from the home.
Is my area improving in the fight against burglaries?
According to a 2018 preliminary report released by the FBI, burglary in the U.S. has decreased by 12.7% since 2017, but some region’s rates are dropping more rapidly than others. In fact, the Midwest is dropping the most rapidly at 15.6% less burglaries year over year.
How can you protect yourself from burglary?
The most obvious way to protect yourself is through monitoring your home with a home security system. A study by Parks Associates claims that 22% of households with internet had a home security system in 2017, which is expected to reach around 27% by 2021. Beyond investing in a home security system, there are other precautions you can take to protect your home and your belongings.
In 2017, 22% of broadband households had a home security system — Parks Associates
Whether you’re going on vacation or want a better way to protect yourself from burglary, use these tips to safeguard yourself, your home and your belongings.
Keep doors and windows locked: Sounds like common sense, right? Even if you feel safe in your neighborhood and always leave one door open or a window cracked, it can lead to unwanted intruders who have targeted your home. Lock up your home before leaving.
Don’t let mail build up. Excess mail in your mailbox, driveway or on your front doormat is a telltale sign that no one is home. Have USPS hold your mail or have a trusted friend or neighbor collect your mail while you’re away so it doesn’t appear as if your home is vacant.
Park a car in the driveway. If you don’t need your car while you’re on vacation, park it in your driveway so it looks like someone is home. If you’re using your car while away, have a neighbor use your driveway as a temporary parking spot. If you work from home, your car will be home much more often, likely deterring theft.
Install timers for your lights. You can find plug-in light timers for less than $15 and they’re well-worth the investment if you’re going to be away from your home for an extended period of time. If you have lights on at your regular times, it will appear as if you’re home.
Install a home security system. Don’t let the cost deter you from installing an indoor and outdoor security camera. Just having a security system visible can deter a thief from an attempted burglary. Even better if you put the warning sign in your front yard to advertise that your home has security cameras.
Tag your expensive items. In the case that your home is burglarized, you’ll want to have a way to identify your items so engrave or embroider (for clothing or handbags) an identifiable marking on them.
Install a wall safe: In an inconspicuous place in your home, mount a metal fireproof wall safe to a stud in your home to keep your valuables.
Keep serial numbers on file. Keep a file that includes all serial numbers of expensive items such as your television, bike and other electronics.
Insure expensive items. Connect with your home insurance provider to see how you’re covered — you may want to insure expensive items separately so they can be replaced if stolen.
Be careful on social media: It can be tempting, but wait until you return home to post vacation photos so that you’re not advertising that your home is vacant.
Hide ladders or tools: Don’t make it easier for burglars by leaving tools that aid in break-ins in plain sight, especially if you’re away for an extended period of time.
Advertise your canine friend: That’s right, your dog can deter a burglar. Even if your dog is harmless, burglars know that dogs could slow them down and draw attention. Even if your dog isn’t home, a “beware of dog” sign could help scare them away.
Should you invest in a home security system?
If you’re worried about a potential burglary, a home security system is a worthwhile investment for a number of reasons:
Deters criminals: The presence of a home security system alone will discourage burglars from breaking into your home. Keep at least one camera visual so burglars know that they are at risk of being recorded.
Sounds can cause a scare: Even if your home is victimized by a break in, the sound of your security system could scare away the culprit before they have an opportunity to find and steal any valuables.
Valuable video footage: Say an intruder does burglarize your home — you’ll have footage to share with local authorities to help find the culprit.
To justify the cost of a home security system, consider the monetary value of items in your home. Would it be devastating to replace some items?
A security system not only gives you the peace of mind while you’re away, but also lessons the chance of a burglary.
What to do if your home was burglarized?
It might be unexpected to become a victim of burglary, but it’s important that you take action right away to increase your chances of recovering your items and finding the burglar.
If your home was burglarized, follow these steps:
Call the police. As soon as you realize that your home has been burglarized, call the police to report the crime. Filing a report will put it on record for insurance purposes and higher the chances that your items are recovered.
Take pictures and document everything. Although it might be hard for you to abstain, leave everything as the burglar left it and take numerous pictures of the damage and areas in which the burglar stole from.
Call your insurance company. Once you receive a reference number from the police, call your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company to file a claim. Depending on the damage and stolen items, you may want to stay elsewhere until the adjuster can assess the state of your home.
View video footage. If you’ve invested in a home security system, you’re in luck. Share the footage with the police and your insurance company.
Look for your items. You can help look for your stolen items without putting yourself in a dangerous position by searching through common resellers such as local pawn shops and online marketplaces like Craigslist or Facebook. Although it may be tempting, it’s ill advised to engage with the burglar and instead, leave it up to the police if you have a lead.
Notify the neighbors. It’s possible that burglars have had eyes on your home and neighborhood for a while before choosing to burglarize your home. Share the news with your neighbors so they’re aware and can take precautions as well.
Now that you know more about burglary statistics in the U.S. and the precautions you can take to avoid becoming part of them, make sure to protect your home against future burglaries.
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Sarah Archer, Content and PR Manager
Sarah supports Your Best Digs with content development and PR efforts. She's passionate about evaluating everyday home products to help consumers save time and money. When she's not putting a product's promise to the test, you'll find her hiking a local trail or collecting new stamps in her passport.