Before you finish reading this paragraph, someone’s home is being broken into and a family is dancing with danger. That’s how long it takes to take someone’s peace of mind and how long it takes to change someone’s life forever — 13 seconds.
Every 13 seconds, a home in America is attacked by burglars according to the crime statistics of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By definition, burglary is the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft and the use of force to gain entry need not have occurred. In 2010, more than two million cases of break-ins were reported accounting for the 24% of property crimes that year.
It also seems that homeowners are making it easy for criminals to break-in. The FBI reported that more than 30% of entries were without force, almost welcoming burglars into the victim’s homes. Sounds astounding? Here are 13 other facts about burglary that you need to know to ensure the security of your home and protect your family:
Guard the front
Most burglars are apparently not that discreet as we expected them to be. The most common point of entry is not the back door, garage or other erstwhile secret passages. It is the front door that is often left opened or unlocked. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2011, 34% of break-ins are through a front door. Just a good push or kick is enough for an old door.
Check your windows
Another common point of entry is the first floor window. Some 22% of burglaries start here. In less than one minute, a burglar can silt a screen or break the glass and crawl through a window.
Windows are mostly targeted during the warm months when they are left opened and thus inviting to thieves. Make sure they have secondary locking devices and not just latches.
Just kick it
Your family’s safety could be compromised with the simplest of tools and the simplest of strategies. It turns out that the most common form of forced entry is by simply kicking the door, sometimes not more than once. The weakest point is usually the lock strike plate so it pays to upgrade to a heavy-duty strike plate as a way to prevent break-ins and deter burglars.
In broad daylight
It often shocks people when crimes are committed in broad daylight. However, in the case of burglaries, that is rather common. They occur between 10 am to 3pm when residents are at work or in school.
All it takes is a minute
In just one minute or less, a family’s privacy and security are put in danger. On an average, the FBI reported that it will take one minute to break into a home and burglars only need eight to 12 minutes to take valuable belongings. Remember that every burglar’s goal is to do it quick and with as little noise as possible.
Scare with alarms
This will probably motivate you to take action: homes without an alarm system are 300% more likely to be broken into. Despite this, security agency Safeguard The World noted that only 17% of homes in America have a security system.
Researches from the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice found the direct correlation between burglary and security systems as an effective way to deter burglars. They interviewed 400 convicted burglars and found that 83% of them took steps to determine whether a home has an alarm system or possibly hidden security cameras. If yes, majority of burglars will move on to an easier target. Only 13% said they will still attempt to break in. It’s estimated that 74% of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an alarm.
Wireless security systems are increasing in popularity because they are easier to install. The other benefit is it is less vulnerable to burglars. Home security statistics show that roughly 25% of offenders report cutting alarm wires before breaking in.
A shocking 85% of break-ins are by non-professionals and first-timers. Home security statistics show that most offenders are under 25 years old and would settle for small items like cash and other valuables like gadgets and jewelry that can be converted to cash to support their drug habit. Never underestimate these amateurs because they are usually more desperate and dangerous. They are prepared to attack anyone who stands in their way.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
Burglars are not rocket scientists. They target a home through a simple selection process. If the property has signs that it is unoccupied like mail left at the door or simply unlocked like 6% of incidents reported by the FBI. They also choose homes that have easy access, great amount of cover and best escape routes. If the door is too sturdy or there is an alarm system, they are most likely to just pass by.
All they need is a screwdriver
Amateur offenders with simple goals and a simple selection process need nothing more than simple tools to carry out a crime. No, this is not Mission Impossible. Security statistics show that most burglars use a screwdriver, pliers and a small hammer.
Burglaries do not only compromise a family’s safety, it is also very costly. In fact, victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.6 billion in lost property in 2010 or around $2,119 per home. Only 15% of property stolen is recovered.
Burglars prefer homes when residents are out. However, they also do not mind if someone is actually home. A special report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that approximately 28% of burglaries were committed with at least a household member inside. At least seven percent of the time, a household member who tries to deter the burglar suffers injuries.
A home is broken into every 13 seconds and this is also happens to be the number of burglary cases solved. According to the FBI, the police solve only 13% of reported burglaries. With security cameras, this number could go up.
Burglars want easy access. They want it done silently and as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, some homeowners and even renters are so careless to give burglars want they want. Protect your family and keep your sanity by making easy and necessary precautions.