Did you know that the United States has the highest rate of burglaries in the world? Statistics reveal that 4 homes are burgled every minute. According to the FBI, “Victims of burglary offenses suffered an estimated $4.5 billion in property losses, and burglaries of residential properties accounted for 74 percent of the total reported.”
While you may have heard about some burglaries in your neighborhood or may have been a victim yourself, you’re unlikely to be aware of this alarming statistics. This is not something you hear on the news as there are other types of crimes that grab newspaper headlines or show up on the television news report. A home burglary is not as newsworthy as bank robberies, stories of corporate malfeasance on a grand scale, and murders. Luxury homes deserve special attention as these properties are often viewed as prime targets.
5 Myths about Burglars
Here are 5 dangerous myths that homeowners or renters often have about burglars that put them at unnecessary risk:
Myth #1: Burglars are sneaky.
While 30 percent of burglars do follow the stereotypical type of burglary, entering a home through an open window or an unlocked door when people are either at work or asleep, the majority of burglaries, a full 60 percent, are through forcible entry.
When it comes to a forced entry, a burglar may pretend that he needs to enter the house to call a tow service. He will point to car parked near your home with the hood open. A second common ruse is a burglar may pretend to be a package deliverer who requires a signature for a heavy package that they want to carry into your house for you. And a third scam is that a burglar may pretend to be from the utility company and have come to inspect your meter. In 47% of these cases, the person who opens the door is injured by the intruder.
Myth #2: Burglars, like lightening, only strike once.
People often assume that once a house has been burgled, then the criminals will move on to other properties.
In actuality, burglars may return if they found a lot of things that they liked in the house when they first robbed it.
If they return, it is usually for one of two reasons. The first reason is they are already familiar with the layout of the house and where the expensive stuff is kept. The second reason is that they are aware that most people don’t install sufficient security even being robbed.
Myth #3: Burglars don’t have intimate knowledge of a home before an intrusion.
Burglars often investigate a property before they break in. It’s known as “casing the joint.” Sometimes, they may have a day job that lets them into a person’s home, like a handyman or lawn care maintenance person. During these visits, they see what property can be stolen and if the house has any kind of security system. They are particularly vigilant about making sure that there are no alarms.
Myth #4: Closed windows and locked doors are enough to keep burglars out.
Burglars are good at prying open windows and a full 33 percent may simply kick in a front or back door if the door is hollow. The best protection is to either have a solid wooden door or a metal-clad one. While locks are not much of a deterrent for burglars, motion lighting, and security cameras have proven effective in deterring burglars.
Myth #5: Alarms are enough to prevent a burglary.
While it’s true that burglars run as soon as the alarm sounds, what most people don’t realize is that burglars may cut alarm wires, as well as telephone landlines, before they break into a house. The solution is to use wireless technology for telephones and alarms.
What Can Be Done?
Although burglars are often street smart or bold, they can be effectively stopped using a good security system. The FBI estimates that on average, burglaries cost an American house a loss of about $2,000. Installing a home security system costs far less.
Often these systems can be quite elaborate. The Houston ADT home security company SecurityChoice.net offers this advice on their blog: “Some homeowners choose to go the DIY route and install their home alarm system themselves. There are pros and cons with do-it-yourself projects, of course, especially if you’ve never done one before and have no previous knowledge of electrical wiring, equipment and carpentry. You could save money if you’re well-versed in what you’re doing, but you won’t have 24-hour monitoring from a professional security company like you would when you sign up with a home monitoring company.”
Besides the peace of mind that comes from creating a measure of home security, insurance companies offer a discount on homeowner policies. The FBI report that only an estimated 13 percent of burglaries are ever solved and the chance of recovering lost property is slim to none.