A home invasion is “The illegal and often forceful entry into an occupied, private dwelling with the intent to commit a violent crime against the occupants.” You might think it’s rare, but the latest home invasion statistics are frightening.
What Is a Home Invasion?
‘Home invasion’ is often used as an umbrella term to refer to a broad range of crimes. The term encompasses those instances where a person enters a residence unlawfully while one or more residents are at home. This includes situations where the offender intends to rob or violently harm whoever is at home.
Only a few states have incorporated the term “home invasion” into their state statutes to include intent on the part of the intruder as part of the definition. Part of the statutes read as:
- …when a person enters or remains inside a dwelling and has the intent of committing a violent crime,
- …when a person knowingly enters a dwelling with the knowledge or expectation that one or more persons is inside,
- …when a person enters an inhabited dwelling or other structure belonging to another person with the intent to use force or violence on a person.
Intent is not always included in media reports or in the public’s perception of a home invasion. However, the person has the intent to commit a crime whether they do or not. From a legal perspective, there are differences between robbery, burglary, and home invasion. Burglars tend to break into homes during the daytime while the residents are away. They avoid confrontation and enter your home for the sole purpose of stealing valuables.
Robbers use violence or the threat of violence to take what they want from you. If you are mugged at gunpoint in an alley, the perpetrator is charged with robbery. If the mugger sticks a pipe into your back pretending it’s a gun, they are still charged with robbery. If someone breaks into your home with the perception that no one is home, they are charged with burglary. If they forcefully enter your home with the intent of committing a crime, they may be charged with burglary. Part of the reason for the confusion is that every state doesn’t consider home invasion a crime. Instead, they charge the people who commit them according to the crimes they commit at the time.
Even so, home invasions are often considered a felony and the sentences vary from five to twenty years. It depends on the crime committed and whether a weapon is used.
Often, with people who break into your home, the prosecutor charges them with both home invasion and burglary. When people discuss burglaries, robberies, and home invasions, they often use the terms to mean the same thing. When a burglar enters your home with the idea no one is there and ends up using violence, it goes from being a property crime to a personal one.
Updated Home Invasion Statistics Related to Violence
You might think the person who breaks into your home is there to steal from you. It’s probably a man who is armed with a gun. That image is probably more familiar in movies and TV shows than in real life. The fact is that a burglar’s intent is not always to rob. The legal definition says they have the intent to commit a crime, not specifically to commit burglary.
Sometimes, a home invasion is committed for the purpose of committing other types of violent crimes. These include assault, rape, kidnapping, or murder.
There are more than 4,500 burglaries each day in this country. The US Department of Justice reports that 38% of assaults and 60% of rapes take place during home invasions. Survivors often suffer greatly and the impact of the experience can last for a lifetime. Even though you want to protect your valuables, nothing is more important than protecting your life and those of your family members.
Protecting Yourself Against Home Invasion
There’s no guaranteed method to prevent a home invasion. Sometimes it is the people who are closest to you that present the biggest threat. Still, there are some steps you can take to help deter burglars and others who mean you harm.
– Always Lock Your Doors & Windows – How many times have you heard someone say “It’s always been such a safe and peaceful town. No one worries about keeping their doors locked here?” You never know when a neighbor, a disgruntled co-worker or employee, or a stranger passing through will change the statistics in your neighborhood. Most home invasion statistics state that well over half of all home invasions are by someone the homeowner knew. Keep your doors and windows locked at all times even if your hometown reminds you of Mayberry!
– Keep Your Home Looking Lived-In
If a burglar plans to enter your home for the purpose of stealing something, they’ll usually watch your home to see when you are away. Modern Smart Lighting presents more natural lighting options than simple timers. Not only can you set the lights to come on at different times, you can control them from any location using your smartphone.
If you’re going away for a while, have the post office hold your mail. Put a hold on any newspaper deliveries, too. Don’t forget to arrange for lawn care. A lawn that isn’t mowed is a sure sign that the residents are away.
– Don’t Show Off Your Valuables
You might feel at ease talking to a close friend about your new piece of jewelry or your gun collection. The problem often occurs when your friend mentions it to someone else. When the wrong person hears about your valuables, a plan begins to take place.
The same is true of sharing pics on social media or running ads for valuable items. You might as well be waving a sign that says, “I have expensive items at my house if you want to come and steal them.” It’s important to think about who’s watching and listening that isn’t in your immediate circle.
– Don’t Open Your Door Unless You Know Who Is On the Other Side
Burglars are often skilled at getting in through locked doors and windows if necessary. It’s easier for them if you just let them in through the front door. Don’t ignore the knocking and give them the idea no one is home. Instead, if you don’t recognize the person on the other side, say something along the lines of “My child is ill, I’m on the phone long distance, or I have a migraine right now.” If your excuse for not opening the door doesn’t inspire them to leave, tell them you are calling 911 if they don’t leave.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a female can be trusted, either. Sometimes home invasions are committed by groups who work together to gain access to your home. She might even pretend to be a victim fleeing a pursuer. Men and women both pretend to have car trouble and ask to use your phone. Don’t open the door even the slightest bit to pass your phone through. If you do, they’ve achieved what they set out to do; gained entry into your home. In any case, tell them you are calling 911 then do it.
– Install a Good Security System
Modern Smart Home security systems make your job of protecting your home a lot easier. Monitor everyone who comes close to your home, communicate with potential intruders from any location, receive messages when your home is compromised, and light up your home with motion detectors to put the spotlight on them before they gain entry. Control everything with ease right from your smartphone. Get the security options you need with a custom package and get the benefit of 24/7/365 burglary & theft monitoring.
Security professionals and law enforcement agents aren’t the only ones who advise getting a security system. Former burglars confess that they often bypass homes with security systems to look for those without them.
– Get a Dog
Dogs make great companions, especially if you live alone. You don’t have to have a large dog or even one that’s especially vicious. A dog will see and hear someone a lot sooner than you do. They will let you know when there’s someone around and deter would-be thieves. Put a “Beware of Dog” sign out front. Even if your dog’s as gentle as a kitten, they don’t have to know it.
Reinforce Doors & Windows
Keeping doors and windows locked won’t be enough if they’re not strong enough to keep intruders out. Add reinforced jambs and use heavy hardware to make sure your doors are strong enough to keep intruders out. Some home invasions occur when the burglar kicks-in a flimsy door.
Make sure all the locks are new and up-to-date. If you have a comprehensive security package, it will include window sensors that alert you when someone tries to pry them open.
Don’t forget the garage door either. Even if you have a strong, secure door between the garage and the house, intruders only need to get to the garage. They might wait for you or another family member to enter or exit your home and force you inside. Today, garage doors are made with different levels of security. Combine a strong garage door with responsive motion lighting to prevent your garage from becoming a point of access.
Leaving Kids at Home Alone
Increasingly, both parents have to work to keep the average family going. That often means that no one is home when they get home from school. Knowing that burglars watch homes to learn the residents’ habits makes it even more frightening. There’s no way you can be sure your kids will get inside safely or that they’ll follow the safety rules you taught them once they do.
This is another area where smartphone technology can help keep your home more secure. Placing cameras inside and outside your home allows you to watch your kids while you’re still at work. Know when they get home and when they leave again. If they forget to lock the door or set the alarm, you can do it remotely. You even have the option to turn the heat or AC up or down to make it more comfortable before they arrive home!
Home invasion statistics don’t lie; home invasions are a very real threat that can happen to almost anyone. You don’t have to be rich or live in a high-end neighborhood to make a good target. It all depends on what the intruder wants and how far he is willing to go to get it.
Who Is Most Likely to Invade Your Home?
The majority of home invaders are male but there are exceptions. Sometimes women work with men to try and gain entry into the home. The offenders are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes they use these substances to give them courage. Other times, getting money to buy drugs is the reason for trying to rob your home. In either case, their condition can interfere with their ability to make reasonable decisions. Some substances also add to their physical strength and/or make them angry and aggressive. It’s always in your best interest to take every precaution to prevent a home invasion and a potential confrontation with the intruder.
Most burglars live within two miles of the homes they invade. The close proximity allows them to watch your home and learn your family’s habits. They are highly skilled at their job and they can get in and out in a matter of minutes. They look for homes that they know will be easy to get into. The more you do to protect your home, the less likely burglars will target it.
Home invasion statistics show that taking these steps and installing a home security system help prevent home invasions. Contact Smart Shield Systems to learn more about home automation. We offer custom security packages to help keep your home safe and to protect what you hold dear.