What Are the Chances of Your House Being Robbed?
In 2019, there were nearly 268,000 robberies in the US. Most of those robberies occurred on the streets but almost 18% of them occurred at residences, and the average loss due to residential robbery was $2,560.
If your home is robbed, you may no longer feel safe, your fear of being the victim of robbery again may increase, and you may suffer long-term stress due to the robbery.
If you want to learn more so you know what the chances of your house being the target of a robbery are and how to protect yourself, read on. We’ve got information and tips for you to help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a robbery.
Burglary vs. Robbery
Before we get into the details about robbery, it’s important to clarify the difference between burglary and robbery, as they are two different crimes.
Burglary, as defined by the FBI, is “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft. There does not need to be any force used to gain entry in order for a burglary to occur.”
Robbery, on the other hand, does require the use of force. The FBI defines robbery as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”
Robbery and Burglary Statistics
You are much more likely to have your home burglarized than robbed. While there were 33,721 robberies of residences in 2019, there were 576,607 burglaries of residences. This means that the chances of your home being burglarized are much more likely than your home being robbed.
When it comes to robbery, you are much more likely to be robbed while out on the streets. Over 34% of robberies happened on the streets or highways. The most common armed robberies include some type of firearm or are strong-arm robberies, where there is no weapon involved, but physical force is used.
If you’re wondering how often do home invasions happen, the answer is not that much, but still much more often than robberies. In 2019, there were over 17 times as many burglaries as there were home invasions. Burglaries can happen in any type of structure, including a house, mobile home, apartment, barn, houseboat, office, etc.
Burglaries are also very costly, as the average burglary costs victims $2,661. If you don’t have insurance, that is a hefty amount to pay for a crime that is not your fault.
The good news is that you can recover things and as long as you and your family are safe, anything lost during the crime is replaceable.
Risk Factors for Burglary and Robbery
When burglars and robbers are considering homes to break into in order to steal something, there are often certain things they are looking for. While some crimes are spur of the moment without much forethought as to how successful they will be, other crimes are planned out in advance, with would-be criminals looking for certain characteristics that make your home a more attractive target.
Some of the things they look for include:
- Homes where people are on vacation (think a full mailbox, a pile of newspapers or packages at your door, a car that hasn’t moved in a few days)
- Unlocked doors or open windows
- “Mistakes” made by homeowners such as leaving your keys laying out, forgetting to close your garage door, or leaving your home unlocked
- Alarm systems that are not connected to an alarm monitoring service
- “Tips” from social media (don’t broadcast that you are on vacation on your social media sites; if you want to post pictures, wait until you return)
- Homes on corners as there are multiple escape routes
- Houses that are set back or hard to see from the road
- Homes that have large trees, bushes, or other foliage blocking windows or entrances, which makes it easier for would-be criminals to conceal themselves when trying to enter your home
- High-value items (if you have things that are of high value, such as jewelry, electronics, or other items, don’t leave them visible from the outside, and don’t blast them on your social media)
- Easy access, such as doors or windows with flimsy locks that can easily be bypassed without creating a sound (like breaking glass)
- Homes with poor security features, such as no cameras or no motion lights
- Well-maintained homes, which give would-be robbers and burglars the indication that you have high-value items inside
The other good news is that since so much is known about the common homes that burglars and robbers target, you can take steps to prevent yourself and your home from being targeted.
How to Help Protect Your Home
While victims are not responsible for their victimization, it is important to note that there are certain things that victims do that make them more vulnerable. By being aware of what makes your home a target, you can take steps to reduce that desirability to those looking to break into a home.
Don’t wait until you’ve been a victim once to take steps to protect yourself, your home, and your belongings. Once you’ve been a victim, your risk of future victimization goes up. Don’t even give criminals the opportunity to victimize you once with these tips for preventing burglary and robbery.
This is by far one of the most effective ways to prevent criminals from breaking into your home. Research has found that 60% of burglars would try to find another target if it was clear that a home had a security system.
The reason for this is that alarms emit loud noises that will draw attention to your home, and if your security system is connected to a monitoring service, the police will be quickly dispatched if the alarm is not disengaged. The threat of getting caught is much higher when a home has a security system, so it is not worth the risk for offenders to target your home.
Security cameras also deter would-be criminals from your home. If you have a few cameras installed around your home at your front door, back door, other entrances (basements for example), and first-floor windows, you’ll have most of the prime locations where burglars enter covered. Video doorbells are also useful.
Burglars will typically avoid homes with cameras because they are apprehended easily if there is a photo or video of them. Having to wear items to conceal their identity will also draw attention to them, which they are trying to avoid. Just make sure you place your cameras in the right spots.
It’s not the size of the dog that matters to most burglars, but their bark and how loud they are. Even small dogs can have loud barks (and they often bark incessantly), so if you have a dog who will bark nonstop someone tries to enter your home (or even get too close to it), most burglars are going to find another target.
Dogs draw attention to your home and the burglar, increasing their risk of being caught.
Clean Up Your Yard
Curb appeal isn’t the only reason to clean up those overgrown trees, shrubs, and bushes. If your yard is well-maintained, there won’t be places for burglars to hide while trying to access your home. Make sure your windows and doors are visible from the road.
Keep Your Information Private
As mentioned above, if you are on vacation, keep it off of social media until you come back. You should also disable the geo-tag function on your pictures, as you may inadvertently advertise to a would-be thief that you aren’t at home or are out of town.
Make sure that you also keep pictures of valuable items, such as electronics, jewelry, or other high-value items off of social media as well, as thieves (yes, even those who you know) are looking for targets with social media.
Make sure there are lights around your home that are motion-activated or have light-sensors, meaning they come on at dusk and turn off in the morning. This helps eliminate places where burglars could hide around your home and makes them visible from the sidewalk or road.
Take Precautions Before Vacation
Before you go on vacation, get a neighbor or other friend or family member to come over to check on your house a few times. They can bring in your mail, newspaper, and any packages you may receive. Even better, you can have everything put on hold while you’re gone.
Many police departments also offer a vacation watch service where they will drive by your home while on their regular patrols to make sure that everything looks ok while you are out of town.
Reduce Your Risk of Being Robbed
Being robbed will take a financial and psychological toll on you and your family. Your feelings after being robbed will typically include fear and wondering why you were a victim. While your risk is somewhat low, there are often things that we do that increase our risk of victimization without even realizing it.
To prevent your home from being a target, use these tips. Many of them don’t require you to spend any money, although some do, and are things that you can do immediately to protect yourself and your belongings.
If you’re ready to protect your home with a security system, Blue by ADT is a DIY security system that you can customize based on your needs. Check out our packages and don’t delay in protecting your home.