Residential Crime and Prevention-Protecting Yourself Requires Educating Yourself

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Residential Crime and Prevention-Protecting Yourself Requires Educating Yourself

Residential crimes occur across the United States every day—including in and around your neighborhood. Yet innocent residents continue to turn a blind eye to today’s crime reports and leave themselves, their families, and their homes exposed.  

An example can be seen in the violent home invasion that occurred in Pembroke Pines, Illinois. According to the WPTV report, two men entered the residence through an unlocked door while the unsuspecting victims were relaxing in their living room. The male resident sustained some injuries during the crime. He was also tied up as was the female resident. A home video surveillance camera caught the residential crime on tape.

It’s common for people who have never been the subject of a crime to take home security for granted. It’s usually not until after a crime occurs that they take the steps necessary to educate and protect themselves. If you could speak with the victims of the home invasion crime discussed above, they’d probably tell you all the things they wish they had done or are doing now to prevent such a crime from happening to them.

Don’t make this mistake! Criminals are everywhere, and they don’t discriminate. Whether it be a burglary or a violent home invasion, it can happen to you and your family. 

To decrease your risk, educate yourself on the topic of residential crime and prevention BEFORE such a crime happens to you, then apply what you’ve learned. The following are some important lessons about residential crime that every resident should know.

Lesson 1: Residential Crime Statistics

An important part of educating yourself on residential crimes and prevention is understanding the prevalence of such crimes. An excellent source for this information is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Each year the FBI reviews the crime data from various law enforcement agencies across the nation. Such data is compiled into a comprehensive Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The following are some statistics on property and residential crime across the U.S. from their most recent assessment:

  • Approximately 7.7 million property crimes occurred in 2017.
  • Victims of property crimes suffered over $15 billion in losses collectively.
  • Approximately 18% of property crimes involved burglary; 67% were residential burglaries.
  • 57.5% of burglaries involved forcible entry.
  • 36.2% involved unlawful entry (meaning an unlocked door or window).
  • The majority of burglaries occur during the daylight hours.

One of the important points that can be taken from the above statistics is the time of day most residential crimes occur. The majority of burglaries occur during the day because burglars typically prefer to break into homes when the residents are at work, running errands, or attending school functions. This is because most burglars just want to get in and get out without being seen. 

Home invasion intruders, however, are a less predictable group of criminals. Unlike the average burglar, they carry out their crimes when the residents are home. They are also more brazen criminals and pose a higher threat of violence to their victims. 

According to statistics derived from the U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), over 266,500 residential burglaries involve a violent crime every year. The following are additional statistics to note:

  • 15% of the violent crimes involved physical assault.
  • 3% of the violent crimes involved rape.
  • Minor injury occurred to a victim in 36% of the crimes.
  • Serious injury occurred to a victim in 9% of the crimes.

As disturbing as these statistics are, even more disturbing is the fact that this data is derived from just a sampling of the crimes reported to law enforcement agencies. There are numerous residential crimes that go unreported every year. So the numbers above are likely much higher. 

Lesson 2: Residential Crime from a Criminal’s Prospective

Educating yourself about residential crime and prevention requires understanding things from a criminal’s perspective. The more you know about how burglars and home invasion criminals approach their crimes, the better you can protect against them. 

The following is important information from residential crime expert, Jordan Frankel, about how home intruders go about carry out their crimes: 

  • Burglars prefer to break into homes and apartments when no one is home.
  • Most burglars look for unlocked doors and windows before attempting to break through a locked entry. 
  • The ground floor of a residence is the most vulnerable area; doors and windows located in the rear or side of a residence are the most common entry points.
  • The second most common entry points are garage doors.
  • Most intruders target residences that appear as easy targets, meaning the home provides an easy way in an out. 
  • The average burglar can break into an unprotected residence in less than 2 minutes; the more time it takes to break in, the more likely the intruder will give up and leave the scene.
  • Most burglaries are carried out within 5 minutes.

Lesson 3: Residential Crime Prevention

Using the data provided above, you can better assess your residence for its strengths and weaknesses in terms of home security. The following are some important residential crime prevention strategies:

  • Perform a thorough assessment of your home’s security both on the inside and outside and determine the weak points. Walk around your residence and look for the potential entry points a home intruder could use to gain entry into your home. This assessment should be performed both at night and during the day. What are your home’s weaknesses? Do you leave your doors and windows unlocked? Do you lack the necessary home security devices to deter and/or prevent a break-in? How is the lighting around the perimeter of your home? If you were a burglar, how would you break into your residence? Are there areas of darkness at night that an intruder can use as cover? Are there trees, trellises, or walls that a burglar can climb to gain access through a second-floor window or balcony? These are important questions to ask as you assess your home.
  • Eliminate the weak points that make your home appear as an easy target and install some residential crime deterrents. For example, if you lack outdoor lighting, install some bright LED motion-activated security lights around the perimeter of your residence. If landscaping is a problem, cut back bushes that would-be intruders can hide in and eliminate anything that can be used to gain access to a second-floor window or balcony. 
  • Fortify the security around your home’s most vulnerable entry points. You need more than standard door and window locks to keep the bad guys out. To prevent a burglary or home invasion, you must make it very difficult for an intruder to break into one of your doors or windows. The harder you make it, the better, because as you learned above, most criminals don’t want to spend more than a couple of minutes breaking into your home. Most would rather abort their plan than risk getting caught. 

For more information on how to effectively secure your residence and keep the bad guys out of your home, be sure to read Security Tips to Protect Against Home Invasions and Break-Ins

Residential Crime and Prevention Requires Applying What You’ve Learned

Educating yourself on residential crime and prevention is a key step in protecting what matters most to you in your life. But you must apply what you learn to truly protect yourself, your family, and your home from the daily residential crimes that occur in and around your neighborhood. Don’t assume a crime will never happen to you—put what you’ve learned today into action and reduce your risk of becoming a home intruder’s next victim.