Many people have a vision of what they think the common burglar looks or acts like, primarily based on movies and television shows. But the average burglar is nothing like those portrayed by Hollywood. Here are 12 facts about the common burglar that by knowing might keep you from becoming the victim of one:
1. Most home burglaries occur during the day, primarily between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. instead of during the middle of the night, as many people believe. The reason? With the economy the way it has been the last eight plus years, in most families both adults must work to make ends meet. Knowing this fact, burglars strike when they are least likely to run into anyone.
2. Most burglaries happen very quickly! It takes the common criminal less than a minute to break in to a home. A home without a security system can be broken into and the burglar will be gone within 10 minutes in most cases.
3. FBI statistics, my old organization, say there is an average of one burglary in the U.S. every 20 seconds, translating to 1,576,800 burglaries nationwide in 2015. Of those, only 13.6% of those burglaries ever result in an arrest. A security camera with cloud back up can assist law enforcement in identifying a burglar and I highly recommend one be part of your security protocol.
4. Burglars are your neighbors! Statistics have shown that your typical burglar lives within two miles of the homes they rob. Why you might ask? Because it’s easy for them to keep an eye on a potential victim’s routine. By doing so they can ascertain the perfect time to strike, knowing when you are at work or, worse, on vacation. Check this article I previously wrote on how to make your home safe while on vacation.
5. Most burglars are male. In fact, 84% of all burglaries are committed by men and according to the FBI over two-thirds of burglaries are committed by a Caucasian. 62% of those burglaries were committed by adult men as well.
6. The majority of burglars have a high school diploma or less, while a third of them have a GED. Only 2.5% have graduated college or have anything greater than a high school diploma.
7. Most burglars dress in plain clothes and comfortably so they can easily run and carry items they’ve just lifted from your home. The really smart ones, an oxymoron if there ever was one, may be dressed as some type of workman.
8. The most common point-of-entry into a home is right through the front door. 34% of all burglaries are committed using the front door. Their next favorite? A first floor window where they enter nearly 23% of the time. And, believe it or not, many times these points-of-entry are unlocked! Yes, you read that right. Unlocked! This is not an issue for my readers who know how I harp on that one thing above all else.
9. Nearly 30% of burglaries occur when the homeowner is at the home. An alarm system, with a panic button, can bring the police, but it can take time for them to respond. These types of burglaries can lead to violent confrontations between the burglar and the homeowner. I recommend all homeowners apply for a concealed permit, although not necessary to protect one’s residence, get training, and be ready to defend your home if someone attempts a break-in.
10. Burglars, statistically, go straight for the master bedroom in their quest to find cash, jewelry and other valuables. They typically look in between mattresses, dresser drawers, nightstands and closets knowing this is where most people hide the good stuff. The FBI estimates that the average loss during a burglary is $2,200.
11. Many burglars will revisit a home where they have had prior success. It’s not uncommon at all for a thief to break into the same home time and time again until they are stopped.
12. 60% of convicted burglars said that if they found a home protected by any type of security, they would typically move on to another home.
Knowing how your adversary operates is half the battle in defeating them. Think about these 12 traits of a burglar, then beef up your security where needed. Stay safe!
About the Author: R.L. Walters is the founder of FortifyMyHouse.com and acts as its chief contributor. He has over 30 years experience in security and investigations. He's an avid biker and also enjoys hiking and photography. Besides managing Fortify My House, Lee also consults with a variety of corporations and private individuals in the area of security and investigations.