According to a recent Safewise report, a burglary takes place about every eighteen seconds in the United States. That adds up to nearly 200 per hour, and approximately 4,800 every day. These are startling statistics, but they highlight the fact that burglary is a crime you need to be aware of.
The first thing you need to know is that contrary to popular belief, the majority of home burglaries take place during daylight hours, not at night. Because most people are at work or school during the day, burglars know the chance of them being noticed are reduced. Burglars don’t want to be seen, especially when targeting homes in the daylight, so they look for homes with big fences or overgrown trees or bushes that create blind spots.
The same report noted that the typical burglar often lives or works within two miles of a target home. Because they are often in the area, it’s easy for them to learn a family’s daily schedule and strike when they are typically not at home – in broad daylight. Finding easy targets makes it easy for intruders to break into a house, get what they want, and take off before being noticed. The entire burglary can take as little as 10 minutes.
An investigative team at a Portland news station sent letters to 86 inmates currently serving time for burglary in the Oregon Department of Corrections. The inmates were asked to respond anonymously to 17 questions detailing how they broke in, when the crime occurred and what they were looking for. Their responses were reinforced the findings in the Safewise report. Some inmates said they knocked on the door, and if no one was home as is often the case during the day, they broke in. If someone answered the door, the robbers would give a variety of responses, responses that are helpful to keep in mind for those answering the doors to strangers during the day.
“Act like I was lost or looking for a friend.”
“I would approach the resident as though they had posted an ad on Craigslist.”
“Say wrong house, sorry and thank you.”
“Ask if they’d seen my dog and leave.”
“Sometimes I would wear nice clothing and print a questionnaire off the Internet and carry a clipboard and see if they could spare a moment for an anonymous survey.”
The is one positive statistic. Convicted burglars in a separate study reported that gated security and roaming security guards influenced their decision to target a different community.