Anatomy of a burglar – 3 reasons why people break into properties

Anatomy of a burglar – 3 reasons why people break into properties

Why do people break in to other people's properties? It's a question we've all asked ourselves, whether we've been the unfortunate victim of a break in or not.

If researchers could come up with a simple answer, we'd have nipped the problem in the bud. Alas, no magic bullet has emerged, which means all you can do is take note of some of the influences on these offenders and utilise protective solutions such as video alarms.

Whether it's quick riches or cheap glory, burglars are always finding some sort of poor excuse for their criminal behaviour. Here are three of the main factors. 

1. The property doesn't have an alarm

This is one of the most basic security features that can be fitted to a residence, as its effectiveness has been proven time and time again. A study produced by the Electronic Security Association in conjunction with the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation discovered that 83 per cent of burglars will check if the building they're targeting has an alarm before proceeding.

Up to 60 per cent of the surveyed burglars would seek another target if they spotted an alarm, highlighting their use as a deterrent. 

These figures change slightly for impulsive break-ins, with over half stating that the sound of an alarm going off would force them to flee. Just under a third would at least consider abandoning the break in and only 13 per cent would carry on in spite of it.

2. Habitual behaviour

For some burglars, once just isn't enough, which is why home and business security is so important. Who knows, maybe a mobile patrol will catch a burglar on his first attempt, putting them off pursuing an illegal lifestyle.

While burglars exhibit some habitual behaviour, this often doesn't extend to much more than the fact that they like to break in to places. As a study published in Legal and Criminological Psychology found, while these offenders may repeat their behaviour to an extent, their modus operandi is situational, so property owners need to be prepared for all eventualities. 

3. It's easy (if you are not prepared)

Sometimes it's the little things that can stop burglars from entering a house illegally. Leaving a house unlocked, for example, could be enough to lure in an opportunistic offender who might have passed your property by otherwise.

It's also easy for homeowners to fight back. Want the protection of a dog without the expensive vet bills? Simply slap a 'beware of the dog' sign on your fence and you're good to go!

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