The FBI reports that more than 2 million homes are burglarized each year. Police, investigators, and even interviewed burglars have identified trends and factors in residential burglaries that can help you adopt measures to deter a home break-in.
Common characteristics in home burglaries
A common assumption is that burglaries almost always occur at night. In reality, most burglaries happen during the day, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Burglars most frequently (34%) come through the front door, dressed inconspicuously so as not to appear out of place in the neighborhood. For instance, burglars might dress to look like window salesmen or asphalt repair company representatives.
If the burglar does not enter through the front door, the next most likely entry points are a first floor window (23%) or a back door (22%), followed by entry through a garage (9%). They usually head to a master bedroom, where they expect most people to store jewelry, cash, and portable safes containing other valuables. The majority of burglaries last around 10 minutes in total.
Tips for preventing home burglaries
Surveys of real-life burglars and the police officers who investigate them illustrate that intruders focus on homes where they can get in and out quickly and without drawing attention. The following deterrents can keep burglars out of your home by letting them know – or at least making them believe – that they will be observed.
- Neighbors – A vigilant neighbor is a great asset. If burglars believe they are being observed by your neighbors, they will not feel anonymous and may prefer another target.
- Automatic lights – When interior lights are on all night, it is a sign that no one is actually home. Instead, put some lights, and even the television, on a timer that mimics the appearance of daily life. Outside the home, consider installing motion detector lights that will turn on even if you are not home.
- Cameras – A good-quality home surveillance system can serve the dual purpose of deterring criminals by its visibility and by providing a video record. Choose a setup tailored to your location and needs. Options include wireless cameras with remote storage, high-definition infrared cameras, and even license plate recognition technology.
- Clear views – Minimal landscaping deters intruders because it provides clear sightlines to homeowners, neighbors and surveillance cameras. Even though burglars prefer to enter through the front door or another easy entry point, they look for a safe escape route, like a path behind thick shrubbery, in case something goes wrong.
- Enabled alarm system – An alarm system is a good idea, but a surprising number of homeowners do not actually enable it regularly. Burglars know to look for signs – for example, many alarm panels are in the entrance way and within view of a window in the front door.
Maryland Security Professionals is a regional leader in Mid-Atlantic security services, including customized surveillance camera systems that can both deter burglars and capture images of a break-in. Call us today to discuss how we can help protect your property from intruders.
Additional “home burglary deterrents” resources:
- U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: National Crime Victimization Survey: Victimization During Household Burglary September 2010, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/vdhb.txt
- NPR, Should You Leave Your Lights On At Night? It Depends, http://www.npr.org/2016/02/23/466603833/should-you-leave-your-lights-on-at-night-it-depends