Home invasions are among the most worrying types of crime in the USA. Homeowners should be on their guard, it’s not easy to recover from being burgled, and victims of burglary can be affected for a long time, even after their material items have been replaced. But, despite this, many people don’t realize how common it is.
Home burglary statistics
Home burglary is more common than you’d think; it’s a good idea to be prepared for a break-in and take precautions to make it less likely. It can be jarring to learn quite how common home invasions really are. First, we’ll look at a few significant statistics, and then we’ll run you through some things you can do to keep yourself safe.
Only 12% of break-ins are planned
According to Science Daily, only 12% of home robberies are planned in advance. A survey of convicted burglars by the University of North Carolina found that a substantial number (41%) said they acted on impulse instead of only 12% that said their actions were premeditated. The remaining 37% gave mixed responses.
Around 2.5 million burglaries happen per year
The Bureau of justice statistics reveals that the number of burglaries is around 2.5 million, 66% of which are home break-ins. Crime rates are falling overall, but they remain worrying.
Burglaries most often happen in daylight
It bucks expectations, but burglaries don’t always happen at night; in fact, FBI statistics from uniform crime reporting (UCR) reveal that 45% of burglaries occurred in the daytime. A survey from 2016 reported the average time of burglaries to be 4 pm.
7% of burglaries use violence
While burglaries may be considered a violent crime, thankfully, this isn’t the case more often than not. A State of the USA report found that 7% of home invasions result in violence annually, though only a few (12%) burglars used a weapon. The most prevalent type of violence in burglaries is a simple assault, with more than 30% resulting in minor injury.
Dogs don’t deter burglars
Despite what many think, burglars are less deterred by dogs than they are by other things, including:
- Home security systems
- A car in the driveway
- Passing traffic
Only 34% of burglars said that they’d be deterred by a barking dog, according to a survey by 24/7 Home Security.
Burglary accounts for only 17% of property crimes
An FBI report revealed that larceny-theft, the legal name for unlawfully taking something from someone (property or possessions), accounted for 72.5% of all property crimes in 2018. Burglary and motor vehicle theft was recorded as 17% and 10%.
Most Americans don’t have a home security system
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t have a home security system. It’s thought that around 75% of Americans don’t have any kind of home security, according to The State of Safety’s 2021 report.
Home security systems deter burglars
Leading on from the previous statistic, according to research from Reolink, Burglars are 3x more likely to target homes that don’t use a home security system. Most burglars will move on to an easier target if they discover their intended target has a security system.
Take a look at our most recommended home security systems
Renters are more likely to be targeted
According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, burglars hit renters more frequently than homeowners, and that’s been the case for years. With that said, the trend is slowly evening out. In 1994, there were 68 burglaries per 1,000 in rented households, compared to 44 per 1,000 for owned homes.
In contrast, in 2011, those rates had decreased to 33 burglaries per 1,000 for renters compared to 18 for homeowners.
Check out our home security guide for renters
How to prevent home invasions
Sadly, there is no 100% way to guarantee your safety, and crime statistics can only tell you so much. But one thing is clear – there are ways to deter burglars and to avoid being a target.
Stay off social media
Recording every minute of your trip online is a great way to make memories, but it’s also a way to let potentially thousands of people know one crucial piece of information – that you’re not home and probably won’t be for a while. Veteran burglars can use it to target you.
What you should do is refrain from updating or uploading detailed information about your trip until you’ve returned home. If you don’t want to do this, you should ensure solid privacy settings. But it’s worth remembering that a large number of burglars target people they know, even if only as a “friend of a friend.”
Keep your home clean
Of course, we’re not referring to your kitchen. But keeping the outside of your home neat and tidy plays a role. There are several key indications that a house is empty.
For example, if your mailbox is overflowing and your shrubbery is overgrown, it’s self-evident that you’re not there.
If you leave your home for a substantial period, have someone, like a trusted relative or friend, visit the house to grab your mail, check all is well and clean up any minor tasks that need doing. An empty home is an excellent target for a burglar.
Shore up your home security
Getting a home security system is one of the single most effective things you can do to prevent burglary. While it makes it less likely that they’ll succeed, it also deters burglars from trying, as we’ve seen. You can also manage your system remotely, whether you’re at work or on vacation. Monitored systems are available, too; professionals would be on standby to dispatch help for you or your home 24/7. If you’re looking for home insurance, a home security system can also get you a substantial discount. There aren’t any good reasons to delay.
Updating your locks
Old locks are a risk factor for several reasons; one is that a previous tenant may still have an extra set of keys that they’ve given away or lost. Upgrading prevents any old keys from being used to enter. Not unlawful entry doesn’t necessarily translate to forced entry, and home invasion statistics reveal that most burglars gain access via the front door.
Modern locks are also much more challenging to break, whereas criminals can circumvent old locks with a hairpin or credit card.
Take a look at our top picks for the best door locks for security.
Look for vulnerabilities
Home security is something many of us never think about – sadly, it’s essential to have a safety plan that includes security for your entire home. It’s an excellent idea to look for vulnerabilities in your home regularly. If you have any hiding spots in your yard, non-functioning locks, or doors/windows that don’t shut entirely, you need to rectify them as quickly as possible to prevent them from being used against you.
The number of home invasions remains high; though it is falling somewhat, the burglary rate is still worrying. You can do various things to protect yourself and your valuables, such as installing an alarm system, not updating social media while on vacation, and keeping a close eye on vulnerabilities in your home.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.