Every 18 seconds, someone’s home is broken into. When the owner discovers the theft, chances are that they’ll call 911 and say, “I’ve been robbed.” Actually, that’s not quite accurate. If one had to choose, burglaries are preferable to robberies. When no one is home and a thief breaks in with the intent to steal, that’s a burglary. A robbery is a crime of violence or with the threat of violence, committed when the victim is present. An armed home invasion with the intent of forcing the victim to give up their valuables is a robbery.
Of course, the primary difference is the weapon held by the robber, but that is not the only difference. Someone who chooses to confront their victims head-on and threaten them with a weapon is probably a career criminal. A burglar may well have also committed previous crimes, but they were more apt to be non-violent property crimes. He or she normally lives within two miles or less of the victims and could even be the neighbor or the neighbor’s kid.
People are deeply divided on the issue of gun ownership. The FBI’s annual report on crime, “Crime in the United States, 2015” revealed that violent crimes had increased 3.9% while property crimes had gone down by 2.6%. Interesting perhaps, but not really significant for anyone who wants to protect their home and family. A more significant fact would be that there were over 327,000 robberies – each a crime involving at least a threat of violence. The average value of the property stolen was $1,190. While no one wants to lose their property, that dollar amount isn’t very high when considering the trauma inflicted on someone suddenly confronted by a violent armed criminal. These facts seem more significant on the gun ownership issue. Homicides went down as gun ownership rose. 1993: for every 100,000 Americans there were 7 homicides involving a firearm2013: the gun homicide rate had fallen dramatically to 3.6 gun-related homicides per 100,000 peopleBetween 1993-2013, the number of privately owned firearms increased by 56%There are more guns than people in the U.S., amounting to an average of 1.45 guns per person Whatever side of the gun ownership question anyone chooses to belong to, the ultimate truth is that if an armed intruder breaks through your front door, it all depends upon the circumstances as to whether or not a firearm will make your family safer. Where was the weapon at that moment? Was that family member old enough or trained to use the weapon? Every crime is unique to those involved. There are definitely dangers involved with gun ownership as well as benefits.
A typical home break in is a crime of opportunity, whether the criminal is armed or unarmed. The presence of a home security system is a deterrent. One North Carolina study found that 60% of those convicted of burglary said that they targeted homes that did not appear to have a security system. The clear implication is that it must be clearly obvious to potential thieves that your home has a home security system. Post signs and stickers at every entrance, not just by the front door.
Most burglaries occur between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm when most people are working or at school, not at night when people are more likely to be home. Install motion-activated home security cameras both indoors and outdoors. Set it up so that you’ll be alerted if the camera detects any motion so that the situation can be instantly evaluated.
Most burglars are in and out in ten minutes or less. Locked doors and windows are an important component of the home’s defense system. Both fiberglass and steel entry doors are stronger than wooden doors. Deadbolt locks are recommended and should be properly installed with 3″ mounting screws lodged into the frame. The lock itself should have a 1″ dead bolt and a reinforced metal box strike. Any deadbolt lock is better than the key-in-knob type of lock that any thief can easily open with a credit card. About 34% of burglars enter the home through the front door.
Most thieves head straight for the master bedroom where they will ransack the room searching for cash, jewelry and weapons. Be sure to keep one security camera concealed in the bedroom.
Always make sure that the security system is armed even when someone is home. The alarm could scare off a potential thief before they entered and confronted a family member.
About 84% of burglars are not arrested. Even if the thief is found, the stolen property may be long gone.
Basic DIY home security systems should: Be easy to set up since you’re doing it yourself Need no special mounting hardware and be wireless Not require drilling holes, making DIYs great for renters Not require lengthy contracts Let you buy as much security as desired, adding components like motion-activated and internet-connected cameras, door and window sensors and smoke detectors Include the option of professional monitoring, even thought this will include a monthly charge. While DIY monitoring is certainly possible, it requires more attention and is not likely to be as complete as professional monitoring Have a hub with a smartphone app that connects all of the components and will send notifications Include a high-decibel alarm There are a number of good DIY home security systems, including Piper NV, Samsung’s SmartThings and iSmartAlarm. All are easy to set up and SmartThings includes a professional monitoring option. Whatever system is chosen, nothing is more important than protecting your family and home.