Homes without a security system are 300 times more likely to get broken into, and renters are more vulnerable to property crime than homeowners.
Suburban homes are 50 percent more likely to be burglarized. Because they're located in lower traffic areas and have greater accessibility to all sides of the house, thieves can more easily identify the point where they could break in when they can walk around a home and may also have more places to hide outside, as well. If you live in a single-family house in the suburbs, be vigilant about decreasing the chances of a break-in.
Here are some other home break-in statistics that may surprise you:
- 88 percent of break-ins occur in residential areas
- 51 percent are victims of repeat burglary, usually occurring in the first month
- 77 percent of all crimes are property crimes
- 3 out of 4 homes in the U.S. will be broken into within the next 20 years
- Identity theft after a break-in is the fastest growing crime in the U.S., Canada and U.K.
- July and August have the most break-ins, mainly due to summer travel
How break-ins usually play out
A thief may scope out your place for several days to understand when you leave for work and when you return. In many cases, home burglaries take place between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., while you're at work or school, with the most common hours for a burglary happening between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Despite what you see in the movies and on TV, thieves usually enter your home through the front door, followed by a first-floor window and the back door. Always remember to lock your doors and windows – especially on the first floor!
Once they're in, a thief can burglarize your home in about 8 to 10 minutes. During that time, cash and electronics are the first items that might be stolen. The master bedroom is most likely the first room to raid, followed by the home office, living room and dining room.
Ways to protect yourself from break-ins
If you know you'll be away for a while or you just want to better protect your home, here are some suggestions for you to get started.
1. Get a home security system
You can go the traditional route with a system that monitors your home 24/7, and you pay a monthly subscription for this monitoring service.
Or you can install a DIY smart home security system that connects a camera to your smartphone through an app. You can even use Google Home or one of the other smart home devices on the market.
2. Lock your doors
Since you now know that 34 percent of thieves enter your home through the front door, make sure to always lock it. If you have kids, remind them to lock the door by putting a sticky note by the door. If your door has a passcode, make sure it's a secure code and not 1, 2, 3, 4.
3. Get a light timer
If you're traveling, get a timer that sets your lights inside your home. You can also purchase smart lights you can control through an app on your phone.
4. Get friendly with your neighbors
If you're going away for a vacation, ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Swap phone numbers so they can text or call you if they notice something suspicious.
5. Get renters insurance
Renters insurance won't protect you against the actual break-in, but it can help provide peace of mind to help cover the cost of stolen items.
A home break-in occurs every 18 seconds in the U.S. That equals nearly 200 per hour and 4,800 per day. By the time you finish reading this article, 23 homes will be broken into. The more you know and understand about home break-ins, the better you can protect yourself and your home.