Residential Crime Education-The More You Know, the More You Can Reduce Your Risk

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July 21, 2023
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Residential Crime Education-The More You Know, the More You Can Reduce Your Risk

Somewhere across the United States, someone’s home is being burglarized. What’s sad is that chances are the crime could have been prevented with a little education. 

When it comes to residential crime education, the more you know, the more you can reduce your risk of becoming a part of today’s crime statistics. With that knowledge, you can better understand how to protect your home against today’s criminals and which home security steps to implement to keep them out of your home.

Residential Crime Education: The Statistics

Reducing the risk of becoming the next residential crime statistic requires some basic education about burglaries and how these crimes are carried out. One of the best resources on residential crime is the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Each year the FBI publishes a Uniform Crime Report (UCR). This report provides comprehensive data on various crimes across the nation, including residential crimes. The following is data on residential crimes from the UCR for 2017:

  • There were over 1,401,840 burglaries in 2017; approximately 67% of such burglaries involved residences.
  • An estimated $3.4 billion in losses were suffered by burglary victims. 
  • Approximately 58% of all burglaries involved forcible entry; over 38% involved unlawful entry (meaning the criminal entered the home through an unlocked door). 
  • Residential dwellings are at greater risk of burglary during the daytime hours when no one is home.

The only good news from the above statistics is that burglaries have declined by 6.7% compared to 2016. There are various reasons for the decline, one of which is our thriving economy. When the economy is good, more people have jobs and people have less of a reason to turn to theft. Other reasons for the decline include the improvements in home security technology and the increased awareness of residential crimes through the various forms of media available to residents. 

As good as that news might sound, however, on average a burglary is still occurring across the U.S. every 22 seconds! According to residential crime expert, Jordan Frankel, many of these crimes occur due to the resident’s lack of home security knowledge. Many residents rely on their standard door and window locks as their only means of home security, while others simply fail to lock their doors and windows altogether, thinking that such a crime will never happen to them. It’s usually not until a person experiences a burglary or some other traumatic residential crime that they begin educating and protecting themselves.

Residential Crime Education: From an Intruder’s Perspective

Another important step in residential crime education is gaining an understanding of the criminals that break into homes. This is important because understanding things from an intruder’s perspective will help you better understand how to protect your home and your family.

The following is some data about how burglars and other intruders go about breaking into homes. Such data is derived from law enforcement agencies and the knowledge and experiences of home security experts across the nation.

  • Most burglaries occur through a window or door on the ground level of the residence.
  • Side and rear doors and windows are the most common entry points, as these areas are less visible to neighboring properties.
  • Most intruders look for easy targets; they seek an easy way in and out.
  • Most burglars can break into a home in less than 2 minutes.
  • The majority of burglaries are carried out in less than 10 minutes. 

Residential Crime Education: How You Can Reduce Your Risk

With the above residential crime facts now in your knowledge base, it’s time to apply that knowledge so that you can reduce your risk of becoming an intruder’s next victim. The first step in this process involves performing a residential security assessment to determine your home’s vulnerabilities. The second step is implementing a home security plan that not only deters criminals from targeting your home, but also prevents them from breaking in should one attempt to do so. 

Step 1: Perform a residential security assessment. When it comes to assessing your residence, walk around the perimeter of your property during the daytime and nighttime hours. During your assessment, ask yourself: If I were a burglar, how would I attempt to break in? Inspect each window and door. Are there any  loose locks, hinges, or doorknobs. Can any of them be easily pried open? 

You also want to assess the lighting and landscaping around your home. Dark areas as well as bushes near windows and doors can serve as hiding places for would-be intruders. In addition, pay attention to trees, walls, and other objects around your home that could be used to climb up to a second floor patio or window. 

Step 2: Devise a home security plan. After completing a thorough assessment of your residence and determining its weak points, the next step is to devise a home security plan to decrease your risk of being victimized. 

Knowing that most burglaries occur through a locked door or window, your main focus should be on fortifying the security around your home’s doors and windows. The following are some important home security measures to have in place:

  • Replace hollow entry doors with metal doors or doors constructed of solid wood.
  • Replace standard hinges of entry doors that swing inward with 2-3″ steel screws.
  • Place metal rods or solid wooden dowels in the tracks of windows and doors that slide sideways (i.e., sliding glass door).
  • Install anti-Jimmy devices in windows that open vertically (up and down).
  • Equip entry doors with heavy-duty deadbolt locks.
  • Install a quality security door brace at the base of entry doors (one that can withstand up to 1800 pounds of force).
  • Reinforce the glass of ground-level window and door panes with a security-grade glass protection film; this will slow down intruders by making the glass very hard to break and may very well prevent a break-in.

Residential Crime Education Goes a Long Way

As you can see, the more you know the more you can reduce your risk of becoming a residential crime victim. Of course, that is only if you apply what you learn. So be sure to put your knowledge to good use. In doing so, you won’t have to worry if your home will be the one that gets broken into in the next 22 seconds.