Burglary Facts

Written by karen y. larkin
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Burglary Facts
(Image courtesy of Creative Commons)

Each year since 1930, thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have voluntarily reported crime statistics to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This data was compiled into the Annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR). Data for 2008 indicates that, while overall crime from the previous year decreased, burglaries went up by 1.3 per cent. The greatest increase occurred in cities with a population of 100,000 to 249,000.


The FBI defines burglary as an "unlawful entry into a structure to commit a felony or theft, by forcible entry, unlawful entry where no force is used, or attempted forcible entry." Though we tend to think of burgling as stealing, neither a theft, nor even entry, is required for a crime to be classified as a burglary.


Every 15 seconds in the United States a burglary occurs. There were over 2.4 billion in the U.S. in 2008. Of those 61.4 per cent included forcible entry, 32.4 per cent included unlawful entry, and 6.2 per cent included attempted forcible entry. Property loss due to burglary totalled £2.8 billion in 2007, with the average loss at £1,294. The rate of recovery is 5 per cent. Only 13 per cent of burglaries are solved by police. Burglaries make up over 22 per cent of all property crimes.

When and Where

Burglars favour warm weather, with the greatest number of instances in July and the fewest in February. Burglars don't want to catch people at home, committing 62 per cent of their crimes between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The Northeast reported the fewest number of burglaries, accounting for 11 per cent. The greatest number of burglaries occurred in the South, accounting for 45.2 per cent. Over 85 per cent of burglaries occur in metropolitan areas.

Profile of a Burglar

Of those people arrested for burglary, 70 per cent are white and 86 per cent are male. Over 28 per cent of those are under 18 years of age. Over 50 per cent of burglars live within two miles of the home they burglarise. Most burglars are not violent, do not carry weapons and work quickly. The average burglary is over in less than 12 minutes.


Rented homes are twice as likely burglarised as owner occupied home, and homes without security systems, three times as likely. Homes with unlocked doors and open windows are obvious targets. Burglars also gravitate to homes with built in hiding places, like large vines or shrubs.

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