Have you ever asked a burglar what motivates or deters him? Joseph Kuhns from the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology did. His research team interviewed over four hundred people convicted of burglary to get extraordinary insight about what makes a burglar tick. Here’s what they found:
- Most housebreakers consider the proximity of potential witnesses when targeting a house. They take into account vehicle and foot traffic, whether there is someone inside the property and, of course, if police or other law officials are nearby. They’re on the lookout to make sure there’s an easy escape route and if good security systems are in place, like an alarm or if there is a dog on the premises. They also look for any outdoor cameras as well as other surveillance gear.
- Over 80% of those interviewed indicated they’d determine the presence of alarm system prior to any attempt at a break-in. 60% reported that they’d look for a different property altogether when they spot an on-premises alarm. These responses particularly came from burglars who were meticulous and deliberate when they planned burglaries.
- 50% of those interviewed stated that they would reject a burglary target when an alarm system was detected, and 31% stated they would be more likely to abandon the attempt. Just 13% stated they’d go on with their attempt to break in.
- About half of those interviewed said that their burglaries were drug related while 37% said their main motivation was money. Of those who were looking for money, many of them wanted the cash for drugs. Guns were not a great motivator for burglaries, according to the study. Only one interviewee sought out firearms during a theft.
- Approximately 50% of those interviewed targeted private homes. 31% targeted commercial properties or businesses.
- The majority of burglars gained entry through an unlocked window or door, or forced a locked window or door open. 1 in 8 of the respondents said that they would pick a lock or use keys obtained beforehand.
- Approximately 12% planned their burglaries ahead of time while 41% implied their burglaries were usually a matter of sudden opportunity. 37% said their burglaries were a mix of the two.
An interesting gender gap emerged in the study, in that male offenders tended to be more deliberate in their burglary attempts. They more often than not would study their target before striking. Women tended to act on the sudden opportunity a target presented. In addition, female offenders stated they preferred to hit a target in the afternoon. Men, on the other hand, usually focused on targets in late evening. For 70 % of female offenders, drugs were the main motivator for break-ins. For male offenders, money was their reason.
Regardless of the gender of the offender, alarms and surveillance systems had an almost identical impact when choosing targets. Women, however, were more likely to drop an attempt than men were when indicators of an alarm system were present.
Source: UNC Charlotte, North Carolina
Tips For Burglary Prevention To Help Lower Your Theft Insurance Premiums.
As this study shows, you can do a lot to lower the odds of being a burglary target. And you’ll be doing what you can to keep your premiums lower on your homeowners’ theft insurance.
- Have an alarm or surveillance system installed, and make sure your home or business prominently displays stickers and signs announcing that you have a system on premises.
- Install motion-sensor lighting around potentially vulnerable areas.
- Keep doors and windows locked.
- Trim back or remove trees, bushes and plants that make an easy place for burglars to conceal their activity.
- Often, a community or neighborhood that has an active neighborhood watch can positively impact your home theft insurance.
Are You a Renter? You Need Theft Insurance, too!
Theft insurance isn’t just for “someone else.” Break in insurance coverage is as important for people who lease or rent as it is for those who own a home or business. Snyder Insurance is happy to answer any questions you may have on renters insurance or the theft insurance part of your homeowners policy.