The Small Safety Risk Too Many People Are Taking at Home: Some Quick Facts About Home Burglaries

The Small Safety Risk Too Many People Are Taking at Home: Some Quick Facts About Home Burglaries

Caroline Biggs
Jun 15, 2017
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Many homeowners will tell you that securing their home is a top priority, however, that doesn't mean home invasions aren't a very real threat for Americans. According to a new survey by Eyewitness Surveillance—a commercial surveillance company based in Maryland—a burglary occurs every 13 seconds in the United States, resulting in a startling 2.5 million home intrusions reported every year. Yet what's more startling is how many of those burglaries were actually preventable, had homeowners simply remembered to lock their door. And the surprising discoveries don't stop there. The company surveyed 1,000 Americans about the steps they take to secure their homes, and their findings might surprise you.

1. 30 percent of all burglaries occur with the intruder entering through an unlocked door.

That's a whopping 750,000 homes a year that could have bypassed intrusion—had homeowners made a point to lock up before leaving.

2. Nearly 1 in 5 people don't lock their doors when they're at home.

That's almost 20 percent of the U.S. population sitting at home with unlocked doors.

3. 63 percent of Americans said they know people that don't lock their doors regularly.

Which means the number of home invasions resulting from unlocked homes is likely much higher than reported.

4. The South likes to leave their doors unlocked.

Despite having the highest property crime rates in the country, 29 percent of residents in the southern part of the U.S. are cool with leaving their doors unlocked. (Compared to 12 percent in the Northwest, 16 percent in the Midwest, and 22 percent of the Northeast.)

5. Income doesn't necessarily influence whether you lock your doors.

Twenty percent of respondents with regularly unlocked doors made under $30K a year or less. However, the same percentage applied to households with an income level of $75-90K. Translation: Income really isn't all that much of a factor in home security.

6. Only 18 percent of people surveyed leave a physical key outside of their home.

Whether it's under the doormat or inside a fake rock, hidden keys outside the home aren't nearly as common as unlocked doors.

7. Millennials care about protecting their cash.

Even though more than 50 percent of Millennials prefer to use cards for payment, 30 percent are more concerned with securing their cash than their electronics, jewelry, and other valuables.

8. Security systems make a difference.

According to the study, homes without security (or alarm systems) are up to 300 percent more likely to be broken into. What's more, the average amount of stolen property in a home with no security system is $5,000, compared to $3,000 for those with ones installed.

9. And so does social media.

Thinking of posting pics on social media while you're on vacation? Think again. Research shows 78 percent of burglars are using social media to target their next victims. So for the sake of your home, consider saving your awesome snaps for when you return.

Tips for Remembering to Lock Your Doors

Has the study scared you straight? Now that you're committed to locking your doors around the clock, here are some ways to make it a habit. No strategy is too silly, if it works.

Set a phone reminder: It might seem silly but a daily mobile alert will ensure that locking your door is on your mind.

Say it out loud: Make a short list of things you need to accomplish before leaving the house everyday—turn off lights, grab keys, lock doors—and make a habit of reciting them before walking out the door.

Leave yourself a note: Whether it's on a sticky note or a marker board by the door, leaving yourself a written reminder will make remembering to lock up a whole lot easier.

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