Burglaries Inside the Mind of the Criminal

Security system installation

A burglar. The name itself means everything. It signifies a person who steals goods, either from a vehicle, home, or other private space. According to one statistic, most do it for drugs–either for drugs themselves or for money to support their habit. The statistics surrounding burglaries are shocking in themselves:

  • An astonishing 34% of burglars enter through the front door
  • Almost 30% of burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window
  • Most burglaries take place between the hours of 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon.

Burglars are more likely to be men, but women burglars are there too and they have different habits than their male counterparts. Female burglars, in general, and according to one study, are more motivated by drugs, while male burglars are more motivated by money.

One study recently came out about the make-up and habits of burglars. The author of the study was Dr. Joseph B. Kuhns from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The survey, titled “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” and was funded through the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation.

Their sample size was 422 incarcerated burglars taken from prisons in three states: North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio. The idea was to look at the decision-making processes and methods of those 422 burglars.

What resulted was a 64-page study that revealed the burglars’ motivations, target selection strategies, techniques, gender differences, and effectiveness of deterrence factors such as burglar alarms and video surveillance.

The statistics are a deep detailed look in how burglars operate and what their motivations are. Here are some of the most significant:

  • Almost 90% of those surveyed said their top motivations for burglarizing were either drugs (51%) or money (37%), which was often used to support drug habits.
  • About half admitted to committing residential burglary, while 31% committed commercial burglaries.
  • Most burglars report to entering through open windows or doors, or forcing them open if need be. Only one in eight said they picked locks or used a copied key.
  • Men tended to plan more deliberately while women overall were more impulsive.
  • Women tended to focus on burglarizing homes in the early afternoon, while men tended to prefer commercial properties late in the evening.
  • However, the one thing that stood regardless of gender…

Was the deterrence effect of alarm systems. And this should come as no surprise. Common sense would dictate that someone looking to burglarize a home might think twice if an alarm was going to go off. That alone increases the risk of capture, if the alarm system can notify police or if neighbors hear the alarm and look to see what is happening.

In fact, nine out of ten burglars avoid homes with alarm systems and said if they did encounter an alarm, they would not attack the home. Homes without an alarm or security measure were 300% more likely to be broken into, according to one research study. And the aforementioned research study showed that:

60% of burglars would consider the presence of cameras or other video equipment when selecting a target, and nearly 40% said that it would be a factor in them choosing another target.

Home security systems act as a great deterrent against the burglaries that others choose to do. With home security systems in place, neighbors can sleep soundly knowing that a burglar is very likely to choose another neighborhood, property, or set of properties to burglarize.

Some insurance companies are even offering a 20% discount to homeowners who are looking to have one of many home security systems installed. And the companies that sell home security systems generally have a few options of security based on the level or protection you want.

It is possible to get surveillance systems that function more like video surveillance systems, or ones that have a bluetooth or wireless capability. Some can be managed through a personalized website or through your mobile device. Some have extra capabilities like the ability to notify the police.

What really goes without saying at this point is that many burglars will change their target based solely from the presence of an alarm system. Many will discontinue their attempts upon noticing there is an alarm system and if one goes off, almost all will discontinue the robbery (those that don’t are a small 13%).

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