February 01, 2018
People often have an incomplete understanding of the definition of burglary. It refers to unlawful entry into a commercial or residential structure with the intent of committing a crime such as theft, arson, fraud or assault. Breaking and entering is not necessary for an incident to be considered a burglary.
There are different levels of severity when it comes to the crime of burglary. They include the following:
- First degree burglary involves entering a home with the intention of committing theft, arson, assault or some other crime and is a felony.
- Second degree burglary also involves gaining entrance into a structure with the intent to commit a crime. However, it is generally a commercial property and not a residence. This is also a felony.
- Third degree burglary involves entering any building with the intent to commit a crime other than arson, theft or assault. In many jurisdictions, it is also a felony.
- Fourth degree burglary involves breaking and entering into a structure if no other crime has been committed or even intending to steal something from a structure. In the places that use this category, it is a misdemeanor.
Considering that there are just under 1.7 million home burglaries each year, it makes sense to gain a greater understanding of how these crimes occur and how to lower your chances of becoming the next victim.
Most burglarized cities
As you can see from the map, many of the municipalities with high property crime rates defy the stereotypes. For instance, most people would guess that places with high per capita burglary rates would be among the most populated cities in the United States. Yet only San Antonio, Texas can claim that dubious distinction. Interestingly, many criminals are more likely to target homes that are off the beaten track and out of the public eye. In urban centers were homes and people are often right on top of each other, it’s just not as easy to get in and out of a home without being seen.
What’s causing these high property crime rates?
- The lack of a security system makes a burglar’s job a whole lot easier. However, the presence of a security system yard sign or other visible insignia can act as a strong deterrent. After all, why would a criminal want to risk the chance of being caught in the act when they could simply go down the street and have easy pickings in the home of a neighbor who had not protected themselves with a security system? Not so long ago, many homeowners were reluctant to go through the significant expense of installing a home security system. The good news is that there is now a wide range of options available, including some very economical wireless mechanisms that you can install yourself in an hour or less. In addition to a mechanized solution, also consider getting a dog. If having a pet is the right choice for your family in other respects, the bark of a canine of any size can send a burglar quickly on their way before you have the misfortune of becoming a victim.
- Making it easy for burglars is the biggest mistake that many homeowners make. Put yourself in the shoes of someone with crime on their mind, and imagine just how tempting it would be to see valuables such as computers, jewelry, cash or weapons lying around within easy reach of windows and doors. For that reason, it’s in your best interest to be conscientious about where you leave and store your most prized possessions. When possible, put the things you care about the most in a heavy-duty safe that is bolted to the floor.
- The potential for quick and easy entrance and exit increases your chances of being burglarized. Most of these crimes take less than 10 minutes from start to finish. If crooks can easily see what they want and get to it quickly, it’s only a matter of time before you become a target.
- Unlocked or weak doors and windows are the criminal’s best friend. Taking measures to shore up all of your entrances is one of the best ways to prevent burglaries.
What can you do to prevent burglaries?
Take steps to install visible deterrents. Let people know that you have a security system by displaying its insignia in your yard. It also never hurts to put up a “Beware of Dog” sign, particularly if you actually have the genuine barking canine to back it up. Be sure that your property looks occupied even when you’re away by installing timers and smart LED bulbs that you can program remotely.
Don’t make it easy for burglars to hide from view as they plan their crime. Get rid of those massive shrubs that have been annoying you for years anyway to allow your neighbors to have a clearer view of your property.
Sturdy doors and windows complete with good locks are one of your best defenses against unlawful entry and theft. Burglars want to get in, grab what they wand and leave as quickly as possible. Strong doors and high-quality locks take more time to foil, meaning that many criminals will simply give up and move on to their next victim.
Having positive relationships with your neighbors can be a godsend in numerous ways. It’s not just a life-saver if you run out of eggs and can quickly go next door to borrow some. You and your neighbors can get each other’s mail, park in each other’s driveways and otherwise make your properties appear to be occupied when you’re on holiday. Having this mutually beneficial relationship works to protect everyone in the neighborhood.
You are highly vulnerable to burglary during the first few months after you move into your new home. Changing all of your locks is one of the most overlooked but most important steps you can take to protect your