The stereotypical image of the burglar; the unknown masked man armed with a gun, breaking into a house and violently attacking its residents, is usually a far cry from reality.
An infographic created with data from Iowa State University’s Journal of Forensic Science has revealed that, in fact,most burglars live within two miles of the homes they target and the majority of home burglaries do not involve violence, or even the use of a weapon.
Contrary to popular belief the majority of residential thefts are not performed by professional burglars, rather by local opportunistic criminals who target items that are easy to pick up and that can be sold without much trouble. For instance small high-value items such as cash, jewellery, electronic equipment, gadgets such as mobile phones and lap-tops, guns and other such items are among those items popular with these thieves.
It is both surprising and distressing to learn that most burglars who might break-into your home actually live near you and that you are likely to know the culprit personally. It is unsettling to have had someone intrude in the place where you live, particularly someone who you may recognise or even know well. Despite the fact that violence is not typically the norm in home burglaries, fear and long-term traumatic stress can still often be a consequence of such an event, especially if the criminal happens to be a former acquaintance.
Such information should serve as a warning sign to pay close attention to your surroundings, to always be conscious of who you let into your home, and to make an effort to get to know who lives near you. Such local opportunistic criminals are generally looking for easy targets. If the risk of detection is too high or the building appears secure, these local burglars will not attempt to enter your home. Netwatch advises homeowners to take precautions to make your home more difficult to enter by making the house appear lived in using lights or a TV/radio timer when you are out or away, by using high quality locks on exterior doors and windows, and perhaps to consider installing a visual monitoring system with audio warnings to deter such criminals from approaching your residence.