Everything You Need to Know About Home Burglaries

When it comes to your home, few things are more unsettling than the thought of a break-in. After all, burglars don't just rob you of expensive items, but also of your sense of security and comfort. In order to better understand how burglaries happen and how they affect the home's occupants, home security company Cove asked nearly 1,000 victims of a home break-in a variety of questions about their experience.

The FBI estimates that there were 1.4 million burglaries in the United States in 2017, with about two-thirds of them occurring on residential properties. On average across all burglaries, the victim lost a little over $2,400 in property, although Cove's survey also captures the emotional damage inflicted on the residents.

Cove started at the beginning, asking respondents how their home was broken into. By far the most common point of entry was through a broken window, with 39% reporting this was the case for their break-in. Other common means of entry were breaking down the front or back door or picking the front or back door's lock. While these forced entries accounted for the large majority of points of entry, about 10% of people reported that their front, back, or garage door was simply left unlocked. Perhaps most alarming is that 20% of people reported that they were home at the time of the break-in.

The respondents in Cove's survey reported an average loss of about $1,800, with 22% of stolen items being subsequently recovered on average. Many people reported that they also suffered emotional trauma after the break-in, with 66% of men and 76% of women feeling less safe in their home. Common emotions felt by at least 25% of both men and women after the incident were anger, insecurity, fear, helplessness, and sadness.

You might think that your home is unlikely to be broken into a second time, but more than 1 in 4 respondents reported that this was the case! In fact, almost 1 in 10 reported that their home was burglarized at least 3 times in total! This could be the result of the burglar now knowing your home's layout and defenses and highlights the importance of taking action to prevent future break-ins.

One effective way to guard against forced entry is to install a home security system, something which 40% of respondents did after their first break-in; unfortunately, the system only works if you remember to turn it on. About half of the 22% of respondents with a security system admitted that it wasn't turned on at the time of the burglary.

Another common response following a burglary is to get a large dog, which was done by about 33% of respondents. This not only reduces the likelihood of another burglary, but also provides peace of mind for the home's occupants. German shepherds (almost 41%), pit bulls (28%), and Australian shepherds (22%) were the most popular choices. 

You can learn even more about home burglaries by reading the full results of the survey on Covesmart.com.