A home invasion occurs when a person who does not have permission to enter the home enters it with or without force. The invasion may occur while the home occupants are there or away. The most common purpose of a home invasion is to steal belongings. Expensive artwork, controlled medications, electronics, jewelry, money and other valuables are commonly taken. In some cases, a home invasion may be performed for the purpose of stealing sensitive personal or work information. If home occupants are not physically harmed by the perpetrator during the home invasion, they are still left with a horrible memory and a feeling of insecurity.
Home Invasion Statistics In America – According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were more than 1.9 million burglaries in the United States in 2013. In comparison with the rate documented in 2012, this was a small decrease. Burglaries comprised more than 20 percent of property crimes reported during that year. Almost 60 percent of the burglaries were committed using forced entry.
About 35 percent of the incidents were unlawful entries, and less than 10 percent of burglaries were only classified as attempted forced entry. The cumulative losses of burglary victims totaled nearly $4.5 billion in 2013. Property loss includes both real property and personal property such as electronics, jewelry and other possessions. Average property losses per incident totaled more than $2,300. Nearly 75 percent of all burglaries happened on residential properties.
The Losses Due To these Crimes – The previous statistics teach homeowners an important lesson. Homeowners are far more likely to be burglarized than businesses. This is partially due to businesses having better security in place. In addition to this, some losses include items that are not replaceable. Family heirlooms, one-of-a-kind art pieces and precious jewelry may be gone forever once they are stolen.
Unfortunately, many homeowners find out these items are not covered in their home insurance policies when they go to file claims. Expensive jewelry, firearms, rare art and several other items require special policies in addition to the standard home insurance policy. While these losses may be distressing to homeowners, they are not as distressing as losing personal security and peace of mind at home.
How Do They Occur? – To understand how a home invasion happens, it is important to think from the perspective of the invader. They may enter through open windows, sliding doors, skylights or other entryways. If a thief who just wants items to steal and sell is planning an invasion, that person will look for a property that is thief-friendly. The main idea to remember is that the thief wants as little work as possible to get into the home and as little risk as possible of getting caught. These are some factors that a thief may consider advantageous when planning an invasion:
- An open yard with no fence.
- Inadequate lighting on the property.
- Knowing that the house is unoccupied during a specific time of day or night.
- No sign of guard dogs on the property.
- No indication of a burglar alarm or surveillance camera.
- A quiet neighborhood with little foot traffic.
- A house with windows left open.
- A house with a large glass window on the door and no screen door.
When thieves plan home invasions, they often case the neighborhood looking for ideal properties to commit their crimes. Homeowners should always remain vigilant for suspicious vehicles parked in front of their homes. Thieves may park and watch several homes in one area before driving to another section of the neighborhood to do the same thing.
Tips For Preventing Home Invasions – Fortunately, most home invasions are preventable. Secure the property to make it unattractive to invaders. The following tips are some suggestions for lowering the chances of a home invasion.
Get a dog or a fence. Few thieves want to contend with a guard dog of any size. However, a fence is often just as unattractive as a fence with a dog behind it. Put a “Beware of Dog” sign on the gate whether there is a dog or not.
Set television and light timers – Burglars often look for unoccupied homes. If they notice there are no lights or a television on at certain times, they can determine when the home is empty. Set timers for lights while away. Consider leaving the television on randomly several days each week. Another option is to set programs to record and turn the television on through a DVR.
Install an alarm and surveillance system – A burglar alarm is a must for every home. Since no thief wants to be caught on camera, surveillance cameras placed in high spots on the property are also very beneficial. Be sure to place signs on every side of the property letting people know there are cameras and a burglar alarm. Do this even if no cameras or alarms exist. Another option for people who cannot yet afford surveillance systems is to purchase cheap dummy cameras.
Always maintain the appearance that someone is home. Keep a car parked in the driveway, make sure the property is well lit, clear fliers off of the fence, have the mail picked up regularly while away and ask neighbors to keep an eye on the property when it is vacant. Also, make sure any entry doors without accompanying screen doors are sturdy, windowless and have deadbolt locks with strike plates. Every neighborhood should set up a watch program and communication plan to stay vigilant and alert others of possible home invaders casing the area.