I remember coming home on a weekday afternoon a couple of years ago and finding an unknown SUV parked in front of my barn and the side door of the barn hanging open. Within seconds a man ran out of the barn, hopped in the truck, and drove off. There’s no telling what he might have made off with had I not come home early that day. I was fortunate. But it opened my eyes.
Home invasions can cost homeowners more than just their valuables, but their peace of mind and sense of security, too. I know.
And according to a new report, experiencing such a traumatic event is much more likely than many may think.
The newly released 2017 Ooma.com home security report found that 63% of American homes are at high risk of burglary.
The data scientists at Ooma.com surveyed 1,000 Americans about how they protect their homes when they’re away and also found that 16% of Americans say they’ve experienced a burglary. These victims identified the factors they say they believe contributed to or caused their home invasion.
Here are the top five factors putting American homes at risk:
No. 5: Living in an apartment building
Of the 16% of Americans who say they have experienced a burglary, 7% say living in an apartment building put them at greater risk. Apartments can be more accessible targets for thieves for a few reasons, mainly due to easier access.
Fire escapes or sliding side doors can provide thieves with easy entry if not secured properly. There’s also an anonymity factor, where burglars could potentially walk through an apartment complex appearing to others as a resident. The significantly smaller size of an apartment compared to a home also makes it easier for thieves to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.
In addition, renters experience a burglary at nearly double the rate of homeowners, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
No. 4: An open window
Eight percent (8%) of burglary victims say an open window was the cause of their attack. Ooma.com’s home security report found that 60% of Americans leave their windows open when they’re away, putting the majority at risk. Of that 60%, approximately 15% say they simply forget to close their windows, and another 15% say they leave their windows open in warmer weather.
No. 3: An unlocked door
Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans say they leave their doors unlocked when they are away from home. Some say they plan to return quickly (14%), and others say they just forgot (12%). As the number three-factor, 14% of burglary victims attribute their robbery to an unlocked door. Supporting this claim, data collected from a 2012 FBI Crime Report says 34% of burglars enter through the front door.
No. 2: No home security system
As the number two factor, 16% of burglary victims say not having a security system puts them at risk. According to Oooma.com, only 37% of Americans own a security system, putting 6 in 10 U.S. homes at risk. According to the FBI, homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.
No. 1: Neighborhood or surroundings
Nearly 24% of Americans burglarized say their neighborhood or surroundings put them at greater risk. Besides taking basic safety precautions like locking doors and windows, there are other ways to make your home less of a target.
Experts suggest adding more lights in and around your property to deter burglars. Keeping the lights on inside will make it harder to tell if anyone is home, and more exterior lights will make it easier for would-be thieves to be seen.