Less than 15% of burglars are *ever* arrested during their entire criminal careers. Six out of seven professional home burglars are still on the job year after year. That’s amazing when you consider there are over eight thousand home burglaries UK every day… and bad news for us law-abiding homeowners. The next-worse thing than being the victim of a violent crime is having your home burglarized. Aside from the direct (and usually permanent) loss of belongings, victims are often haunted for years by the violation of their homes… and gripped by the fear that it could happen again.
There are three classes of burglars: the professional (think Alexander Mundy from “It Takes a Thief” or Pierce Brosnan/Steve McQueen in “The Thomas Crown Affair”), the semi-pro, and the amateur-opportunist. Don’t spend too much time worrying about the professional. He’s probably after bigger stuff than you’ve got, and there isn’t a lot you can do to stop him anyway. The real worry is the semi-pros and amateurs because there are a lot of them around, and they often blend into the scenery. Male teenagers who live close by commit a high percentage of “easy” home burglaries. The semi-pro may scout a neighborhood for a week or more, while an amateur may spend only a few hours casing a residence. Either way, once he’s made the decision to rob a particular house, he’ll be in and out in just a few minutes.
The most common home burglary modus operandi in my area goes like this: once a house has been targeted, the burglar will park his car around the block and walk over. He’ll go right up and ring the front doorbell. If someone comes to the door, he’ll pretend to be selling something door to door or have a story that he’s looking for a different house. If there’s no answer, he’ll typically head around to the back of the house, seeking a way in without attracting too much attention. He’ll first try to force the back door. Most burglars don’t bother picking locks. They know they’ll be able to quickly gain entry by cruder methods. If he can’t get in through the back door, he’ll try a window or possibly the garage door. While burglars would prefer to work in darkness, they do not want to confront anyone, and a generally choose to operate during the day when the house is more likely to be unoccupied. They don’t much care if your alarm goes off. They know that most neighbors won’t pay attention and the police won’t arrive for quite a while. The burglar is usually in and out within eight minutes or less. He’ll go straight for the master bedroom, looking for jewelry, money, and drugs. If he finds a gun or laptop computer or something else that’s relatively small and of high value, he’ll grab that. He may take a quick sweep through other areas of the house, especially the living room, dining room, and den. He will never go down in the basement, up in the attic, or into any confined area for fear of being trapped there should the homeowner or police arrive. That’s why he also prefers single story homes (two story homes often have the master bedroom on the second floor).
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