A home should be a respite from the perils of the outside world; the place where you kick off your shoes after a long day. We can all agree that nothing should be more secure than the place where you lay your head at night. However, one of the most common crimes in America threatens that serenity.
The frequency at which burglaries occur is startling. With a break-in occurring every 16 seconds in 20131, there are millions affected by unwanted intruders in this country. Knowing the facts and the thought process behind home invasions can ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.
How often does a burglary occur in America?
Getting the Facts Straight
Knowledge truly is a superpower when it comes to burglaries, so you need to be aware of the facts. First off, many people are most concerned about security at night, to make sure that no one will invade their home while they are sleeping. While this is still of the utmost importance, the fact is that most burglaries actually occur in the daytime1, specifically during work hours. The intruder dressed in black lurking in the shadows isn’t as common as someone simply walking in your door while you’re at work during the day.
What time of day do most burglaries take place?
New to the Neighborhood?
Many burglars target new residents of particular areas, probably because it is easier to slip in and out without detection while you are distracted with settling in. Plus, many new homeowners/renters haven’t set up an alarm system yet or even swapped out the old locks. It is recommended that you are fully prepared for the area you are moving into by contacting the local police department to inquire about burglary statistics and common residential crimes. Also, visiting a neighbor and sharing information can make you more aware of what to expect.
What should you do immediately after moving to a new property?
Better Safe Than Sorry
The average amount reported stolen from a burglary in 2013 was around $23001. This means that intruders aren’t just breaking in to cool down with a nice glass of lemonade during a hot day. Protecting yourself is the only way to curb this from happening. One way is to dust off that safe and begin using it daily. Experienced burglars will still try and crack into a safe, but you can plan for that too.
What is the average dollar loss per burglary in the US?
A Safe House
Instead of placing a safe in your home office, bedroom, or closet, try placing it somewhere a little out of the ordinary. Assuming you don’t have a bat cave, some smart spots to keep a safe in your house are a laundry room, pantry, or your child’s bedroom. Burglars know where to look for the goods, and if they don’t see them there, they will likely move on quickly. Getting used to using your safe habitually really does make a difference. Place prized possessions, personal documents, and jewelry in there whenever possible; you don’t want the day you forgot to lock up those items to be the day you are struck by a burglar.
What types of items should you keep in a safe?
A Sequel You Don’t Want to See
Constantly updating your safe code also prevents a burglar from taking off with your valuables repeatedly. Despite popular opinion, you are actually more at risk for the same burglar to break into your home more than once—seeing as how they already know the weak spots of the house and the layout.
True or False: You are less likely to be burgled by the same culprit more than once.
The nationwide facts about burglary make for some discouraging statistics. In 2013 only 13% of burglary cases were solved1. You might assume that burglary occurs more often in commercial property, but in 2013, 74% of break-ins occurred in a residential space2.
What percentage of burglary cases were solved in 2013?
True or False: Burglaries of commercial properties account for the majority of burglary offenses.
It’s also a fact that burglary rates rise during sunny summer days. Since burglars tend to target properties where no one is home, common vacation months will leave you most vulnerable to intrusion1.
Fear not though! While things may seem dire, there are concrete ways to deter break-ins and keep your home safe and sound.
What season sees the most home break-ins?
Interior Home Preparedness
Now that you have the facts, here’s how to ensure that when burglars take a look at your property, they will take a pass. It’s beyond important to make sure your home looks the same whether or not you’re there. A very simple way to achieve the illusion that you are home at all times is by leaving your lights on. This simple tactic will make it appear that your home is occupied even when it’s empty. Plus there are convenient methods to make sure that you aren’t just wasting energy. For example, an inexpensive light timer will do the trick.
The same principle applies to leaving some sort of sound playing in your house. This could be achieved through a timer on your television or radio. Another way to give the appearance of being home is to have a car parked in your driveway. This may not be practical for everyone, but has been proven to deter burglars from entering your home. The one thing NOT to do is leave any windows, doors, or entrances open. This may seem like common sense, but more than 25% of all burglaries occur without forced entry.
Which of these is NOT an appropriate method to give the impression someone is home?
The number of unforced-entry burglaries is increased by folks who think they can hide a spare key under the mat. Most burglars know exactly where to look when it comes to your hiding spots. That’s why you shouldn’t leave a spare key anywhere on your property—not even in a fancy fake rock. The best methods for storing spare keys are with a trusted neighbor or in a magnetized lock box under your car.
Where is the best place to hide a spare key?
Every Dog Has His Day
To further protect yourself, you can invest in four legs and infinite loyalty; dogs have been deterring break-ins and burglaries for years. However, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need a big, hulking mastiff or German shepherd to deter burglars. The main service that a guard dog can provide is alerting you to suspicious behavior. So, as long as your dog has a bark, any breed can save the day.
It is also paramount to have a robust home security system in this day and age. A wireless system in which you can monitor your home’s activity from your smartphone and/or computer could make all the difference in the world.
What dog breed is best for deterring burglars?
Exterior Home Preparedness
It’s easy to focus most of your energy on protecting the interior of your home from burglaries, but what you may not know is that your home’s exterior could be presenting itself as a big, tempting target. You may love the big, imposing trees that surround your property, but the truth is burglars love them even more. Burglars will target homes that have an abundance of trees and shrubbery. It enables them to hide and scope out your home, as well as exit without been seen. In addition to the cloaking aspect of your yard, having unruly greenery can make your house seem unoccupied. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that you keep a pristine exterior.
True or False: A lot of tree cover and shrubbery will encourage burglars to target your home.
Light ’Em Up!
Taking exterior security one step further, it is in your best interest to have outdoor lighting in place. The most effective lights for decreasing your likelihood of break-ins are motion-sensitive flood lights. If a burglar is caught with a bright beam of light at his every step, they will likely flee and move on to an easier target. While any light system will benefit you, motion-sensitive floods are certainly the most recommended.
What are the best lights to install outside of your home?
Rapping on Doors
Lastly, even with all of these tips firmly executed in your household, you are still vulnerable to attacks. This can sometimes begin and end with the quality of your door. You will want to invest in a metal, fiberglass, or solid wood door. Many older homes still have hollow-core wood doors which can be incredibly easy to penetrate. Upgrading isn’t costly and will make you much safer in the long run.
What type of door is NOT recommended for your home?
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(Correct answers are green)
- How often does a burglary occur in America?
- Every 12 seconds
- Every 15 seconds – You’ve come this far, so don’t let one of the millions of break-ins occur in your home!
- Every 23 seconds
- Every 31 seconds
- What time of day do most burglaries take place?
- Daytime — As many people are at work and the kids are at school, burglaries happen to be more prevalent during the day.
- What should you do immediately after moving to a new property?
- Contact your local police department to ask about common crimes
- Talk to your neighbors to share information
- Change the locks
- All of the above — It can be easy to get distracted during a move! However, following all of these steps will protect your new home.
- What is the average dollar loss per burglary in the US?
- Below $1000
- $2000-$3000 — $2200 to be exact. Once again, don’t be a part of this statistic!
- Above $3000
- What types of items should you keep in a safe?
- Personal documents (passports, birth certificates)
- Prized possessions
- All of the Above — Make it a habit to keep all of your important things in a safe. Obviously, that 60-inch flat screen won’t fit, but everything within reason should be in a safe at all times. Change the code often and install it away from the master bedroom or closet.
- True or False: You are less likely to be burgled by the same culprit more than once.
- False — Once a burglar knows the layout of your home and where all the goodies are hidden, you are even more at risk for a repeat offense. Unless you ramp up your home security, you are going to be vulnerable to a break-in.
- What percentage of burglary cases were solved in 2013?
- 13% — This low statistic just proves how tricky it is to solve a burglary, which makes prevention all the more important.
- True or False: Burglaries of commercial properties account for the majority of burglary offenses.
- False — Residential properties account for 74% of all burglary offenses.
- What season sees the most home break-ins?
- Summer — The summer months have the most break-ins due to many people leaving for extended vacations.
- Which of these is NOT an appropriate method to give the impression someone is home?
- Leave lights on
- Have TV/radio on
- Leave doors unlocked — This is the easiest way for a burglar to invade your property! Always remember to lock up no matter what the situation.
- Leave a car parked in the driveway
- Where is the best place to hide a spare key?
- Under the door mat
- Under a flower pot
- Inside a fake apparatus such as a rock or fake sprinkler
- None of the above — Your key is safest with a neighbor that you trust or in a magnetized lock box under your car.
- What dog breed is best for deterring burglars?
- German shepherd
- Yorkshire terrier
- All of the above — Most experienced burglars won’t be deterred by the presence of a dog. However, your barking pooch can alert you to suspicious activity.
- True or False: A lot of tree cover and shrubbery will encourage burglars to target your home.
- True — This type of cover will give burglars more hiding places to scope out your home and escape without being detected.
- What are the best lights to install outside of your home?
- Landscape lights
- Motion-sensitive flood lights — A burglar will be hesitant once a light system begins following their every move; the ideal light-based deterrent.
- Halogen lights
- What type of door is NOT recommended for your home?
- Hollow core — This material will make it easier for a burglar to break down the door. Invest in one of the other three types.
- Solid wood