Knowing when most burglaries occur is powerful information. The most common times for break-ins occur between 10 am and 3 pm. Rather than being guarded by night, most burglars choose the daytime to attempt a break-in, targeting homes when they believe no one will be present.
To help shed some light on how to prevent a break-in, we spoke with expert security advisor, Joe Cravens’ career in the security industry has allowed him to help to prevent burglaries for the past five years. He began his journey into the field by selling home security systems and alarms door-to-door. Today, he continues to educate people on how to deter burglars by installing home security systems. His work has taken him to five different states: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, and Indiana.
Arming people with the necessary information to prevent home break-ins is a topic near and dear to Joe. The victim of a home invasion in college, Joe chose to pursue a career in security to help prevent break-ins for others. “That’s why I am in the security industry and why I feel so strongly about it.”
Preventing break-ins with home security systems
If you are hoping to prevent break-ins, a home security system goes a long way. Based on his expertise, Joe noted that most people choose a home security system to prevent break-ins only after a burglary has occurred. If you truly want to practice burglary deterrence, you need to take steps before a burglary takes place.
Joe recalled a memorable situation from his time as a door-to-door salesman.
He was visiting the home of a single mother the day after she experienced a burglary. She arrived home to find two burglars prying her garage door open while she held her young son. The two were shaken, but thankfully unharmed. However, the young mother quickly realized the need for a home security system and alarms.
As luck would have it, Joe showed up on her doorstep the following day. He was able to provide her with peace of mind and the necessary alarms to deter burglary in the future. His only regret was that he wasn’t able to prevent the break-in from occurring in the first place: “Honestly, I wish I had been there the day before.”
Educating yourself on common patterns, such as the most common time for break-ins, what burglars look for, why burglars may single you out, and how to tell if a burglar is watching your house, can help you prevent a break-in from occurring. Integrating burglary deterrent methods can often be the key to preventing burglary. Check out these commonly asked questions about burglaries and get to know more about the typical burglar and how you can best prevent them from breaking and entering your home.
When do most burglaries take place?
Understanding the behavior, motivations and patterns behind burglaries can help you understand how to easily prevent break-ins from occurring. Let’s take a look at some patterns and home break-in statistics:
Most home burglaries take place during the day.
While the darkness tends to cause apprehensive feelings, most burglars actually prefer to break in during the day. FBI.org tells us that home break-ins are more common in daylight hours. Why? Most people are at work and kids are in school.
Most home burglaries occur between 10 am and 3 pm.
According to jsu.edu, most home burglaries occur between 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. However, an investigative report out of Portland for KGW News found that some burglars preferred the specific window of 12:30 to 2:30 pm because they wouldn’t be interrupted by someone coming home for lunch and school would still be in session.
More burglaries occur in the summer months than in the winter months.
In what season do burglaries most often occur? A study completed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed a spike in burglary during summer months in a study from 1993-2010 with the exception of three years during that period. The report states that, “On average, household burglary rates were approximately 11% lower in winter, 9% lower in spring, and about 6% lower in fall than in summer.” Burglars are more likely to test your home security during warmer months.
Who is a typical home invader?
In addition to knowing when burglaries tend to take place, it’s a good idea to know who is a likely offender or would-be burglar.
Most intruders live within two miles of the victim
Burglars are often opportunistic. Intruders are not evil geniuses, capable of masterminding a crafty plan. They just happen to be observant and in the right place at the right time. Intruders usually choose a home because they live close enough to notice the vulnerabilities and patterns of the inhabitants. Frequently, home invasions are the result of impulsive behavior coupled with ideal circumstances, not a carefully formulated plan.
Most burglars are male and under the age of 25
According to the study conducted by JSU, most burglars are young and male. They are usually looking for a quick and easy target. Often, intruders are in their late teens. Males are the typical culprit for home invasions.
How to tell if a burglar is watching your house?
Contrary to what you see in movies and on TV, most burglars aren’t obvious and don’t skulk around wearing all black in the dark of night. Rather, many burglars are on the prowl during daylight hours and try to appear as inconspicuous as possible. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant and be aware of the people in your neighborhood and any strangers just walking around.
- If you see vehicles or people you don’t recognize showing up around the same area on a semi-regular basis, take note.
- Be especially wary if you see any strangers taking photos outside your home. It’s an odd behavior that may indicate a burglar is casing your home.
- “Casing a house” means a burglar is sizing up your home and evaluating the how easy or difficult it is to break in, taking note of your comings, goings, and daily habits. It also involves them trying to find out if you have any valuables that may make it worth their while to try to rob your home.
- Also be aware of people who may try to pose as a door-to-door salesperson or claim to be with a utility company in order to gain entry to your home. This is a common scam that is an easy way for a burglar to use a homeowner’s trusting nature to stage a successful home invasion.
If you see any of these individuals that may fit that description, keep an eye out for them and alert neighbors or your local authorities.
Having a home alarm system and surveillance cameras in place can also help alert you to any unwanted visitors on your property or wandering around your neighborhood -- even when you’re not home to see what’s going on.
What items do intruders target?
The FBI tells us that the average home burglary only takes between eight to 10 minutes, with some taking as little as 90 seconds. Burglars only have the chance to grab a few of your valuable possessions with such a small window of opportunity.
What kind of items do intruders typically target?
- Electronics: Blu-ray players, laptops, tablets, phones
- Prescription or illegal drugs
The average loss after a home break-in is approximately $2,000.
Burglars will target any items that are valuable, easy to carry and are not easily traced. You can help prevent break-ins by removing these items from plain view. A good burglary deterrent strategy involves keeping desirable items in a safe place.
According to the International Association of Home Inspectors, there are quite a few clever places to hide your valuables from potential burglars. such as in a heavy wall or floor safe with a combination code, in boxes deliberately mislabeled as “kids toys” or “baby clothes.” You can also buy (or make, if you’re crafty) false-front books or VHS tapes where you can hide some of your valued items. (Very few burglars will care about rifling through tapes of “Suzie’s First Dance Recital” or “Johnny’s Little League Game” to find your jewelry or heirlooms.)
Where do burglaries typically take place?
Being creatures of opportunity, intruders frequently seek out homes that are easy targets. You can prevent a burglary by taking measures to keep your home from appearing to be an easy target. What makes a home an easy target?
- Homes without home security systems are three times as likely to be broken into.
- Low visibility from the street is an ideal situation for an intruder. High grass or shrubs, fences and trees offer cover for a would-be burglar, making it easy for them to observe your patterns or hide out until you leave.
- When it appears as though someone is home, burglars often avoid attempting a break-in.
- Good lighting is a burglar deterrent.
- Cameras and alarms keep intruders away and make a home a less desirable target.
- Homes in the middle of a street are more likely to be burglarized than homes on corner lots.
- Old or broken locks make a house appear vulnerable.
Prevent break-ins by keeping your house well-lit, your lawn maintained, and removing obstacles that block visibility from the street.
Why do intruders commit burglary? What steps can I take to prevent a burglary?
Most burglars are opportunists. Intruders often take advantage of an ideal situation in an attempt to make some quick money. Something as simple as a locked door can sometimes be enough to prevent a burglary from occurring.
In addition to locking your doors, there are a few other ways to keep would-be burglars on their toes and prevent a robbery.
Do dogs deter break-ins?
According to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, certain types of dogs can act as a deterrent to burglars. The larger your dog, the greater the likelihood that a burglar will want to bypass your home. If you’re at home, a smaller dog can alert you to an intruder if you’re home. However, if you and your family are not at home, your pooch may not be as big a deterrent to a break-in as a larger dog -- such as a mastiff or bully breed.
Sometimes, the simple act of putting a “Beware of Dog” sign on your property can also make would-be burglars think twice about trying to break in. But while the sight of a large dog may help prevent a burglary, there isn’t much your canine companion can do if that burglar enters the home. This is why having a dog as well as an alarm system can be a more effective combination in preventing a home robbery.
Does leaving the lights on deter burglary?
The jury is out as to whether leaving the lights on can help prevent a home invasion, or if it just makes it easier for a burglar to see inside your home and see what they’re taking once they’re inside. Keeping the lights on and the shades drawn the entire time you’re on vacation may signal to burglars who are casing your home that no one is there and it’s a prime target for an easy robbery.
However, there are a few steps you can take to using lighting to deter a robber:
- Set a timer on your lights to go on and off at times when you’d normally need them if you were at home.
- If you have a smart home system in place, you can turn lights on and off remotely, even when you’re away.
- Use a home security system in tandem with your lighting. In case your timed lights don’t deter a burglar, you can minimize the amount of time have to steal your belongings before the police arrive on the scene.
Do burglars knock on the door or ring the doorbell?
Yes. Many burglars will knock or ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home before they attempt to break-in.
If you see someone you feel is suspicious -- such as, if you’ve seen them around your neighborhood before on several occasions or they’re trying to represent themselves as a door-to-door salesperson or with a local utility company -- call 911 immediately and give them a description of the person.
Giving the police a good description of this person can help them stay alert if there is a potential burglar trying to break into your home or a neighbor’s home. Take note of their height, weight, hairstyle, or any clothing or items they may have (like a backpack) to share with your authorities so they can be on the lookout for this person in your neighborhood.
Arming yourself with the right knowledge - and the best home security package - can make all the difference when preventing a break-in