28 percent of burglaries involve people at home: good doors-windows prevent violent crime

Crime in America.Net

An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year on average from 2003 to 2007.

In about 28% of these burglaries, a household member was present during the burglary.

In 7% of all household burglaries, a household member experienced some form of violent victimization (see below for press release and link)

Crime Prevention

One of the warnings from crime prevention specialists is for homeowners and renters to lock their windows and doors.

This is what one of us wrote on this site a year ago, “Most burglaries take place through open doors and open windows. In a third of the completed burglaries, the burglar forced entry into the home; in two thirds, the burglar gained entry through an unlocked door or open window.” See http://crimeinamerica.net/crime-prevention-tips-that-work-3/.

This observation was based on Bureau of Justice Statistics data (BJS-of the US Department of Justice) and is many years old.

Now we find that a new document from the Bureau of Justice Statistics repeats this warning– the issue of unlocked doors and windows remains with us. In the category of unlawful entry (versus forcible entry) we find that overwhelmingly, the principle method of entry was through an open door or open window.

As to forcible entry, the obvious points of entry are doors and windows.

This is what we wrote in our crime prevention overview (link above) “When force is used, burglars kick in a door. Have solid wood or metal doors. Higher quality windows with multiple panes of glass are better than single pane windows.

Use high-quality door frames, deadbolt locks, screw plates and screws. Have certified locksmiths (contact your local police for advice) install your locks if uncertain. They are not that expensive and the job is done right.

There are many additional suggestions, and once again, you will find them all at http://www.ncjrs.gov/celebrate_safe_communities/sfhasp.html . See “Home Security Checklist” from the National Sheriff’s Association.”

So it seems that the timeless issue in the prevention of burglaries and lessening the potential for violent crime is locking doors and windows and having doors and windows that can withstand attack.

Burglars we Know and Female Victims

Many of the attacks are, interestingly enough, by people we know and households composed of single females with children had the highest rates of burglary when someone was present.

More on this in an upcoming post.

New Study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics

HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE IN ABOUT SEVEN PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLD BURGLARIES FROM 2003 THROUGH 2007

WASHINGTON – An estimated 3.7 million household burglaries occurred each year from 2003 through 2007, and about seven percent (266,560) involved some form of violent victimization, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, announced today.

Victims said they knew the offender in 65 percent of violent household burglaries, and in 28 percent of such burglaries victims said the offender was a stranger. Residents in all of these households were equally likely to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner as they were by a stranger.

Offenders were unarmed in 61 percent of the violent household burglaries that occurred between 2003 and 2007. In 12 percent of violent household burglaries offender possessed a firearm. About 23 percent of these firearm-related burglaries were committed by a stranger.

Between 2000 and 2007, the rate of burglary of unoccupied households declined from 26 to 21 victimizations per 1,000 households. The rate of household burglary when someone was home remained stable between 2000 (9 per 1,000 households) and 2007 (8 per 1,000 households).

Households composed of married couples without children experienced the lowest rate of burglary both when no one was home (14 per 1,000 households) and while a household member was present (four per 1,000 households). Single females with children experienced the highest rate of burglary while someone was present in the household (22 victimizations per 1,000 households).

Higher income households experienced lower rates of burglary regardless of whether the residence was occupied or not. Single family units (eight per 1,000 households) and higher density structures of 10 or more units (eight per 1,000 households) generally experienced lower rates of burglary while someone was home.

Damaging or removing a door was the most common type of entry in forcible and attempted forcible entry burglaries. Residents who were present in 18 percent of unlawful entry burglaries stated that someone inside the home let the offender in. Twelve percent stated that someone inside opened the door and the offender pushed their way in. Nearly four percent stated that the offender had a key to the residence and used the key to gain access.

Police were more likely to be contacted when an unoccupied household experienced a forcible entry burglary (73 percent) than an unlawful (41 percent) or attempted forcible (41 percent) entry burglary. In contrast, when household members were present during a household burglary, police were equally likely to be contacted regardless of the type of burglary.

These findings are drawn from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), the nation’s primary source for information on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization. Conducted since 1973, the NCVS is one of the largest continuous surveys conducted by the federal government. On average between 2003 and 2007, 40,320 households and 71,460 individuals age 12 or older were interviewed twice during the year for the NCVS. The average annual response rate during this period was 91 percent for households and 86 percent for individuals.

Estimates from the NCVS, which includes offenses both reported and unreported to police, complement those from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), which measures crimes reported to law enforcement agencies across the nation. Unlike the NCVS, the UCR includes crimes against persons of all ages and businesses, as well as fatal crimes.

The report, Victimization During Household Burglary (NCJ 227379), was written by BJS statistician Shannan Catalano. Following publication, the report can be found at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

For additional information about the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ statistical reports and programs, please visit the BJS Web site at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/.

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Comments

  1. Great post! There are a lot of interesting facts here. I completely agree that when a home is broken into, most of the time it’s a person the homeowner knows. This is usually the common factor.

    When looking at the suggestions at home prevention there was no mention how a home is targeted for a home burglary. Is there any tips on that?

    Kevin

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  1. […] with the crime level in your area by talking to neighbors and looking online. Look at house burglary statistics and always remember to do the obvious things like locking your doors and windows. It’s better […]

  2. [...] a year, that means there are 266,560 burglaries in which people in their home are victimized… 28 percent of burglaries involve people at home: good doors-windows prevent violent crime Furthermore, if you look at those statistics, you will note that only in 28% of burglaries was [...]

  3. Anonymous says:

    [...] Found a few statistics and I was surprised that one third are forced entrys and two thirds are through an unlocked door or window. 28 percent of burglaries involve people at home: good doors-windows prevent violent crime [...]

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