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8 Surprising Home Burglary Facts and Stats

Written by | Updated July 23, 2020

Break-ins are the number one property crime concern across America, according to our 2020 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 that you can take to keep your home and belongings secure

1. On average, a burglary happens once every 26 seconds.

According to the FBI, a burglar strikes every 25.7 seconds in the US.¹ That adds up to more than two burglaries every minute and over 3,300 burglaries per day.

That could be why 62% of the respondents to our State of Safety survey named a break-in as their top property crime worry.²

Despite that high level of concern, only 24% of Americans told us they have a home security system to protect their property from burglary.

2. The average loss from a burglary is $2,799.

You’re looking at a loss of nearly $3,000 if your home is burgled.³ 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 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 State of Safety survey. Over 60% of respondents said they have the highest concern about someone breaking in when there’s no one at home, and 58% fear a break-in when they’re sleeping

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.⁴

FBI burglary data from 2018 showed that 51% of all reported burglaries occurred in the daytime compared to 32% at night.⁵

But that trend might be changing. Respondents to our burglary survey disagreed—58% reported that their burglary happened in the evening or overnight, while just 33% happened during the day.

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.⁶

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.

Interestingly, only 5% of the burglaries explored in our survey occurred in August.

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.⁷

In 2018, New Mexico had 768 burglaries per 100,000 people compared to New York, where there were only 159 burglaries per 100,000.

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.⁸

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.

Once again, our survey results buck the trend. 57% of respondents said the burglar struck a property they owned.

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.

The FBI’s most current crime data shows that burglaries fell 12% between 2017 and 2018.³ Even better, the US Bureau of Justice Statistics found a 56% drop from 1993 to 2011.⁸

How to Protect Your Home from a Burglary

Even though burglaries are seeing a decrease overall, $3.4 billion in losses in 2018 can’t be ignored.³

We found that only 24% of Americans use a security system to protect their property and loved ones, and nearly 30% don’t do anything at all to deter burglars.²

That said, 49% of the people we talked to after experiencing a burglary said they changed their locks, 41% added a home alarm system, and 38% installed security cameras.

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.
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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 six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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