8 Surprising Home Burglary Facts and Stats

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review. We may earn money when you buy through our links.

Break-ins are the most worrisome property crimes across America, according to our State of Safety survey.

To get a better understanding of burglary (and help people feel safer in their homes) we’ve rounded up the most surprising home burglary facts and statistics.

But we didn’t stop there. We’ve also included safety tips and essential steps you can take to keep your home and belongings secure.

Protect your property
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest deals, home security tips, and in-depth reviews.

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

1. On average, a burglary happens once every 30 seconds.

According to the FBI statistics, a burglar strikes close to every 30 seconds in the US (30.48 seconds to be exact).1 That adds up to two burglaries every minute and over 3,000 burglaries per day.

But break-ins and burglaries still came in as the second most-mentioned property crime worry in the State of Safety Survey.2

Despite a high level of concern, only 38% of Americans told us they have a home security system to protect their property from burglary.

2. The average loss from a burglary is $2,661.

You’re looking at a loss of almost $3,000 if your home is burgled.1 That’s a big chunk of change—especially for those living paycheck to paycheck.

In addition to the monetary cost, burglaries also take a big emotional toll. You may need to recover from a financial setback at the same time that you’re mourning the loss of things with sentimental value and the feeling of safety you had before the break-in.

We surveyed nearly 700 people who’ve experienced a burglary, and 50% of them told us that the burglar stole or damaged items that were irreplaceable or had sentimental value.

When we asked how their life was impacted by the burglary, 67% said their emotional and mental health took a hit, along with 63% who had trouble sleeping afterwards.

3. People worry about burglary more than any other property crime.

Break-ins are the most-feared property crime, according to our latest State of Safety survey. People between the ages of 18 and 34 were slightly more concerned about about break-ins than people 35 and older. People living in rural areas were half as likely to worry about burglary as people living in urban and suburban areas.2

That concern beats out other property crime worries like having your property stolen (in real life or online) or someone stealing your car.

4. Burglaries usually happen in the middle of the day.

It seems counter-intuitive, but more burglars do their misdeeds in the bright light of day instead of under cover of darkness. A 2016 burglary victimization survey revealed that the most common time for burglaries was between noon and 4 p.m.3

FBI burglary data in 2021 showed that 196,684 of all reported residential burglaries occurred in the daytime compared to 154,723 at night.8

bullet
What's the difference between home invasion and burglary?

All home invasions are a type of burglary, but not all burglaries are a home invasion. 

Burglary is defined as unlawful entry into a structure with intent to commit a crime. Home invasion requires forcible entry into the structure.  Forcible entry includes both physical force and threats of force.

5. Burglaries are more frequent during the summer months.

When temperatures rise, so do the number of burglaries. On average, burglaries rise about 10% between June and August.5

More people were burglarized in June (regardless of the year) than in any other month, according to our burglary survey. June accounted for 11.3% of the burglaries experienced by respondents.

March and April had the next-highest numbers of burglaries with 10.3% and 10.9%, respectively.

6. Rural states see more burglaries than those with big metropolitan hubs.

You’d expect that New York and California might have more burglaries per capita, but they’re actually near the bottom of the list.

In fact, New Mexico is the most burglarized state in the US, along with other rural states including Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.6

In New Mexico's most recent FBI-reported stats, burglaries comprised 23% of the state's property crime, compared to the national average of 16%.4

7. Renters are burglarized more often than homeowners.

According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, burglars hit renters more frequently than homeowners—and that’s been the trend for decades.7

But the gap is closing. In 1994, there were 68 burglaries per 1,000 rented households, compared to 44 per 1,000 for owned homes. In 2011, those rates decreased to 33 burglaries per 1,000 for renters and 18 for homeowners.

Our survey results found that 28% of renters experienced a property crime in 2021 compared to 27% of homeowners. 

8. Burglaries are decreasing.

We saved the best news for last—even though people are worried about burglaries, this property crime is on the decline.

FBI data from 1994 indicates that American households experienced 2,362,539 burglaries, though other sources say burglaries that year topped 6 million.7

In 2021, 619,811 burglaries were reported.8 That's an incredible decrease of 74% to 90%, depending on which 1994 data source is used. 

In fact, burglary has been steadily declining since 2011. 

How to protect your home from a burglary

Even though burglaries are seeing a decrease overall, $3 billion in losses in 2019 can’t be ignored.1

We found that only 28% of Americans use a security system to protect their property and loved ones, and 24% don’t do anything at all to deter burglars.2

But studies show security systems do work. A 2017 study published in Crime Science points to increased security system use as the cause of decreasing burglary rates in England and Wales. And a 2018 survey of people convicted of burglary found that over 60% would skip a home obviously protected by security equipment. 

Be proactive, not reactive

We hate to see people suffer the emotional and financial losses that come with a burglary. That’s why we stick to our motto that safety is a lifestyle, not an afterthought or a reaction to something bad that already happened.

It’s not possible to guarantee that you won’t fall victim to a burglary, but there’s a lot you can do now to make it far less likely.

  • Stay off social media—at least when it comes to your home. 60% of the burglary victims we talked to said they were active on social media daily or several times a week. Posting plans about going out on the town or flaunting beach shots from your vacation is a neon sign to burglars that no one’s at home. Don’t tag your posts with your location or share vacation glamour shots while you’re still out of town.
  • Get insurance. One of the best ways to mitigate the fallout from a burglary is to get your valuables covered by renters or homeowners insurance. If you have irreplaceable items, consider a home safe that’s bolted down or too heavy for a thief to run off with.
  • Tend to your yard. Believe it or not, landscaping can play a role in keeping out the riff raff. Keep shrubs and trees trimmed so they don’t become hiding spots. If you go on vacation, make sure someone mows the lawn while you’re gone so it doesn’t look like your house is vacant.
  • Install a home security system. You can get an alarm system with 24/7 professional monitoring for far less than the cost of the average burglary. Some DIY systems start out around $200 for equipment and have monitoring plans for as little as $10 a month. Plus, most burglars admit they’d skip a house with a security system to seek out an easier target.
  • Upgrade your locks. The locks that come standard on house and apartment doors aren’t usually the most secure. It’s easy to trade out a basic lock for one that meets high security standards and has a reputation for keeping criminals out.
  • Shore up weaknesses. Look for security vulnerabilities around your home. It could be anything from a sliding glass door to an unlit path from the car to the front door. Adding an extra lock or an outdoor light with motion detection provides extra security and helps you sleep better at night.
  • Talk to the landlord. If you’re a renter, you’re at high risk for burglary. Read your lease and talk to your landlord about any security concerns you have. Ask if you can upgrade the lock in your apartment, or add a compact all-in-one security system like the Abode Iota or Canary.
  • Add a security camera. Sometimes all you need is an outdoor security camera to scare off a would-be intruder. Video doorbell cameras are another good way to keep tabs on your property and let the burglars know you’re watching.
  • Don’t wait. Too many people put off home security until after they’ve already been burgled. It’s easy to think that burglary is something that happens to “other people,” but the truth is it could happen to any of us. Take action now to make sure your home, valuables, pets, and people are all protected.

Related articles on Safewise

Sources

  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Burglary." Accessed March 27, 2023.
  2. SafeWise, “The State of Safety in America 2023.” Accessed March 27, 2023.
  3. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, “Charlotte Residential Burglary Victimization Survey: Exploring Post-Burglary Adaption from a Victim’s Perspective.” Accessed March 27, 2023.
  4. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Table 7.” Accessed March 27, 2023.
  5. Statista, “The US States with the Highest Rates of Burglary.” February 2018. Accessed March 27, 2023.
  6. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Table 5.” Accessed March 27, 2023.
  7. US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Household Burglary, 1994–2011.” Accessed March 27, 2023.
  8. Federal Bureau of Investigation, "Crime Data Explorer." Accessed March 27, 2023.
Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

Recent Articles

Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...
diy-security-system-on-ipad
Best DIY Home Security Systems of 2024
SimpliSafe is the best DIY home security system because it's cost-efficient, effective, and easy to...
woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
Best Home Security Systems
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
medical alert products on an illustrated background
Best Medical Alert Systems
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...