Illegal entry into our homes is perhaps the most intrusive and offensive personal violation. Formally defined as “unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft“, there are over 1 million burglaries in the U.S. each year, according to the FBI. According to the FBI, there is a burglary every 26 seconds.
Top 10 statistics on burglary
According to the FBI, over 1 million burglaries occur each year in the US.
Recent statistics show that 1.1 million burglaries occurred in 2019, a decrease of 9.5% from the previous year.
Every 25.7 seconds, one burglary occurs. That’s approximately 3,300 per day.
The average property stolen in burglaries is worth $2,600. This makes the total cost for 2019 burglaries about $2.9 billion.
Burglars will be attracted to homes without security systems. A security system is 300% more likely to make a home burglary (Alarms.org).
Security.org reports that less than 30% have a security system in place.
27% of the time, a person is home while the burglary occurs; 26% of those people home are harmed.
Someone was injured in 7.2% of all burglaries committed.
In 85% of burglaries, the crime is committed by amateurs, often done by someone who is desperate. These amateurs are often more dangerous and unpredictable than professional thieves.
According to FBI data, burglaries have fallen by 49% over the past 20 years despite the grim statistics.
What is home invasion and burglary?
Burglary is a very specific crime that involves a person making an unlawful entry into a structure with the intent to commit a separate felony or theft. Although the crime is often called “breaking and entering”, it does not have to involve physical violence. Burglary can be committed with any type of structure, whether it is a building or an airplane. Burglary is the act of entering an occupied dwelling. Burglary can be any crime other than theft. It could include robbery or assault, murder, or credit card fraud.
In most states burglary is classified in four degrees. All felonies except fourth-degree are felonies. Fourth-degree is considered a misdemeanor.
- First-degree burglary is the most serious. It involves the harm to a victim by using a deadly weapon to enter a house in an attempt to steal or commit another crime.
- Second-degree burglary is when you enter a non-residential property such as a building or premise that’s separate from your home, such as sheds.
- Third-degree burglary is one that does not carry the severe consequences. This is often charged when there is a break in but it isn’t clear why.
- Fourth-degree burglary involves the removal of items from surrounding homes or businesses, such as fenced-in backyards.
Statistics on Burglary 2021
The FBI has yet to release its 2020 comprehensive crime statistics. However, the FBI’s Preliminary Uniform Crime Report for the period from January to June, 2020 shows a decline in the number of total property crimes as well as violent crimes during the first six months of 2020, compared with those crimes during the first six months of 2019.
The most recent trends are also revealed by major metropolitan crime reports. In metropolitan New York for the week of March 1 through March 8, 2021, the New York Police Department (NYPD) indicates burglaries declined 9.4% compared to the same week in 2020. The number of burglaries has also fallen 12.8% over the same period in 2020 for the whole year 2021.
Chicago Police Department (CPD) data shows similar declines in burglaries. The burglaries fell 14% in the same week of March 2021 as in the same time period in 2020. Comparing 2021 to the preceding 4 years shows an encouraging steady decrease in burglaries of 35% (1-year), 40% (2-years), 47% (3 year), 61% (4 year) Los Angeles experienced similar but less dramatic declines in burglaries for the same periods.
Statistics on Burglary over Time
Burglary, a type of home invasion, is a crime that has been defined in the United States as a specific and severe crime. Burglary was defined in the 17th Century under English common law by Sir Matthew Hale as a crime involving breaking and entering into another person’s house at night, intending to commit a felony.
The elements of the crime burglary in the United States have expanded from that one-off charge to include breaking into any structure at any hour of the day. Each state has codified the common law into laws that expand burglary to include illegal entry into any structure, including offices and side buildings, as well as boats.
The FBI data shows that burglaries have been declining over the years. They also show a decrease in burglaries that involve forced entry. Just recently however, perhaps related to efforts to cut back on policing, there has been a noticeable increase in other violent crimes such as assault, robbery and murder.
Here are some facts about burglary
Anatomy of burglary
Homeowners are encouraged by the fact that burglaries have fallen in general. The burglary rate in the United States is currently one-fifth of what it was in 1980. This could be due to a variety of reasons:
- Today, people are less likely than ever to have cash in their hands — thieves are the preferred target
- Residents are more cautious about security systems
- Cybercrime is an easier way to “break in”
- Drug interdiction may be having an impact, reducing the number of desperate people in need of money to fund an addiction
What are the most common times burglaries occur?
Many people assume that burglaries occur naturally at night, when thieves can work under the darkness. However, this is not true. The most frequent times for burglaries is on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., or from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Based on these time ranges, it appears burglars prefer to sacrifice the cover of night and break in when they know from observation that no one is home. As much as the dwellers, burglars would prefer to avoid physical confrontation.
Burglaries are more likely to occur in urban settings. Crime rates are higher in urban areas than they are in rural areas. This is because of the size of these communities. In the United States, property and violent crime rates are three to four times higher in large cities than they are in rural areas.
Past studies by the Justice Department revealed that burglary victims knew the burglar 30% of the time and the burglar was a stranger in 24% of the crimes. The identity of the burglar was not established in most cases (46%).
Who do burglaries happen to?
There are many factors that impact the impact of burglaries and home break-ins on different demographic groups.
- A 2018 Bureau of Justice Statistics study reveals that renters are more likely to experience burglaries and home invasions than those who own homes. Apartment buildings with two to four units are the most common places for break-ins. The higher crime rate can be attributed to the fact that there are many people living in these apartments, and that burglars may blend in.
- Students are burglary victims more often than other groups. Students are thought to be frequent targets due to the electronics they assume they own. Next are the elderly. This group is likely to have access to prescription drugs or be less able stop burglaries in progress.
- People in middle age are less likely to become burglary victims.
- Two racial groups experience the highest victimization rates across all forms of crime – Native Americans and those reporting two or more races.
How can burglaries occur?
Although burglaries have decreased in recent years, these statistics do not mean much to victims of traumatized burglary. It is possible to prevent burglaries by understanding how they occur.
- Burglaries are much quicker than people think. According to the FBI, the average time it takes to commit a burglary typically ranges from 90 seconds to 12 minutes.
- Most burglaries don’t involve violence. One study found that actual violence or even the threat “ranged from a low of .9% in rural areas” to “a high of 7.6% in highly urban areas.”
- In 2018, the average dollar loss for a burglary offense was $2,799.
- The most commonly stolen items during burglaries are those that can be used immediately, easily fenced to get cash and carried away without difficulty. Most burglars want cash. Guns, jewelry, high-tech electronics (smartphones, iPads), and drugs are also sought.
Statistical information on Burglary state-by-state
The table below provides a good snapshot of how each section of the country and each state reflects the encouraging long term trend of decline in the number of burglaries:
- In 2019, the estimated number of burglaries declined in every region of the country — 13.5% in the Northeast, 10.3% in the Midwest, 9.4% in the West, and 8.4% in the South.
- This period saw a 9.9% decline in burglaries in the United States.
- This pattern of decline was similar for all property crimes nationwide which decreased 4.1% when compared with the 2018 estimate.
The impact of burglary
Home invasions and burglary generally cause a significant economic loss to society. Despite the positive trends showing that burglaries have steadily decreased over the past several decades, the crime is still the direct cause of more than $3.4 billion in economic damages every year in the United States.
A 2017 British study reminds us that victims of burglary still suffer from severe trauma:
- The study found that 12 percent of the people who were victims to burglary moved to another location.
- One in three victims had difficulty sleeping afterward.
- Nearly one-tenth of people have experienced a loss in confidence in all aspects of their lives.
- Eight percent of burglars were afraid to leave their homes alone.
- A large number of people became seriously ill and had to be prescribed medication for anxiety and depression.
How burglary can affect your home insurance
Standard homeowners insurance covers you for damage to your home, theft, and loss of personal property. However, there are restrictions depending on the level of coverage that you have purchased.
- Actual Cash Value (ACV), coverage covers the loss of items. According to the depreciation tables maintained in insurances, a laptop bought five years ago for $2,000 might be worth $400 today.
- You may be eligible for compensation if you have a higher Replacement Cost Value (RCV), policy. This will allow you to purchase a replacement laptop at today’s price.
- Some policies use a combination approach. They reimburse the ACV instantly and then pay the full RCV amount using receipts that show the reasonable cost of replacing an item.
- Some carriers have policy limits that must be applied to high-value items like jewelry and rare antiques.
- Your deductible is a major factor in the cost of your coverage. Talk to your agent about the best way to balance your risk of being burglarized and your desire not overpay for coverage.
Finally, home insurance rates will typically rise after a burglary. The amount of your claim and where you live can affect the increase. Consider whether you might be able to reduce these increases by taking advantage of discounts, such as installing security equipment.
How to stop burglary
There are many simple steps and precautions that can be taken by homeowners to help reduce the risk burglary. Many of these steps have been taken and are a contributing factor to the steady decline in burglaries since 1980.
- If you’re away from your home, turn on the lights at regular intervals to make it appear that you are there. If possible, leave a car in your driveway.
- Check that all exterior locks are working properly. Before you go to bed or leave for the night, lock all windows and doors. Make sure your garage door is locked and closed.
- You should make sure that your post office has your mail held when you are not there. To make sure that a package is not delivered while you’re away, ask a neighbor.
- If you are absent for a long time, arrange to have someone take care of your yard.
- It is important that your family does not share your travel plans via social media.
- Invest in good exterior lighting. Install motion-sensitive lighting in multiple locations around your home.
You have every right to invest in your safety.
- There are a wide range of security systems available today that fit most budgets. You can do some research to find the best system for you.
- You may want a safe for your valuables bolted securely to your floor.
- Ask someone to look at your entry doors and see how easy it is to kick them in. Steel doors might be worth your investment.