Approximately 3,370 burglaries occur every day in the United States, translating into roughly one every 15 seconds. If you have been the victim of a burglary, it’s easy to be lulled into the false sense of security that they won’t come back.
Unfortunately, reality and statistics say otherwise. The majority of burglary victims become repeat victims within two months. Understand why burglars return to the same houses and how you can stop them from succeeding again.
The Statistics on Repeat Burglaries
You’ve probably heard the adage, “Criminals always return to the scene of the crime.” When it comes to burglars and home invaders, this adage is proven accurate time and time again. There are multiple reasons why.
Knowledge of the house
Once a home invader has broken into your house and successfully burglarized it, they’ve become familiar with the interior layout. Therefore, they can locate all access points and all your valuables again during a second visit, perhaps even faster than the first time.
A frequent example is that of burglars spotting valuables during the first visit they haven’t had the time to take. On the second visit, these valuables are often their first target.
The element of surprise
It’s easy to believe that becoming a repeat victim is the result of terrible luck. However, burglars know this and exploit it to their advantage.
Statistically, the best time to break into someone’s home a second time is as soon as possible after the first.
Home invaders exploit the fact that victims are still traumatized from the first break-in and haven’t yet had the time to install a security system or countermeasures.
The tactic works: According to multiple studies, becoming a repeat burglary victim is as high as 12 times the chance of becoming a first-time victim, and up to 50% of repeat burglaries occur within one week of the first one.
The confidence factor
Most burglars are not lone-wolf opportunists; they often work with groups or gangs and plan their invasions within entire neighborhoods to get the maximum amount of loot.
If you become a burglary victim, the home invaders will share the information with their networks and mark your house as a target. Repeat successes are confirmation that you are easy prey.
How to Stop a Repeat Invasion
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to stop a repeat invasion. You must act as quickly as possible. The faster you implement these measures, the higher your chances of repelling a second break-in attempt.
Install a quality home security system
The first step is to install a quality home security system with a professional monitoring plan. The purpose of the monitoring plan is to allow the security company to call law enforcement on your behalf as soon as the alarm rings.
Even if it results in an additional expense, don’t pass on the monitoring plan. Without it, a home security system is little more than a glorified noisemaker, leaving nothing more than a loud noise to attempt deterring the burglar.
Buy safes for your valuables
Protect your cash, jewelry, firearms, and other easily-fenced valuables with appropriate safes. No matter what the safe’s dimensions are, it should possess the following traits:
- Fireproof rated and certified by a reputable company, such as Underwriters Laboratories.
- Multiple redundant locking systems.
- Heavy gauge steel walls.
- Bolted and secured to the wall or the floor. If your safe is not secured, burglars will attempt stealing the entire safe, no matter how large or heavy!
Install additional security cameras
Augment your home security system with extra security cameras. Your extra cameras should be concealed, motion-activated, and installed both indoors and outdoors.
Resourceful home invaders will try to locate your cameras when casing your house, and some will not hesitate to disable, break, or even steal them (after all, they are valuable too!)
Harden your windows
Although reinforcing all your house’s windows with security glass will undoubtedly render them impervious to impacts (some are even bullet-resistant, similar to the windows of armored vehicles), this solution is not cost-effective for stopping home invasions.
A more efficient solution is to use a combination of security window film and glass break sensors. The window film increases your windows’ resistance to impact, and the glass break sensors immediately alert you when it detects an impact violent enough to crack the glass. Combined, they will buy you time and allow you to react to an invasion in progress.
Reinforce your doors and access points
Despite the term “break-in,” burglars prefer to enter without having to break anything. For this, they exploit poorly secured access points, such as backdoors, garage doors, and even pet doors!
Even when they can’t exploit unlocked or unsecured doors, you may be surprised to find out how easy it is to break a non-reinforced door with nothing but a solid kick.
If burglars have to break something, they prefer targeting a door instead of a window because the noise of glass breaking is easier to distinguish.
Here is a checklist of things you can do to reinforce your doors and access points:
- Lock your front and back doors Many homeowners forget to do this simple fact, and up to 30% of burglars get in through an unlocked access point.
- Use door frame reinforcement kits.
- Install a stronger deadbolt or an auto-locking electronic deadbolt.
- Install an anti-lock bumping device to prevent hobbyist lockpickers from getting in.
Practice good social media habits
Part of casing a house for burglary is to research information regarding who lives there. If you’re active on social media, don’t make it easy for a burglar to do their homework on you: Avoid oversharing!
All it takes for a burglar to decide when to break in is to know your address and watch your social media.
Even if you’re psyched to talk about your vacation far away from home, use the social media platform’s privacy settings and carefully review who has access to your posts. Better yet, avoid posting at all until you’re back at home.
Don’t Become a Victim Again: Take Steps Now!
Although you should generally spare no effort or expense to protect your property from unwanted visitors, you must act fast and reinforce your home security ASAP if your house has been recently invaded.
The faster you implement a suitable home security setup, the higher your chances of stopping a second break-in.