Updated July 15, 2017

23 Reasons Why Burglars Single You Out

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Avoid becoming another statistic by knowing what types of homes burglars like — and behaviors they're looking for. We have 23 reasons you could become the next victim of a home burglary.

The FBI estimates that some 2.1 million homes are affected by burglary each year. The next one could be yours.

How can you prevent your home from being burglarized?

Know which ones burglars are more likely to go after.

We've compiled a list of research-backed reasons why some homes are bigger targets than others. Read it to see if it's time to start making some changes around the house.

1. You don't have an alarm system

Installing a home security system can go a long way towards deterring burglars.

In a study from UNC Charlotte, 60% of burglars said that if an alarm were present, they'd look for a different house to target.

2. Your house is located on the corner

You'd think that being on the corner would offer an advantage against burglary, but the opposite is true.

Research shows that burglars tend to prefer corner houses because they're more accessible and they generally have fewer neighboring houses.

3. You have lots of locks

Interestingly, locks alone aren't enough to scare a burglar away, and having more locks doesn't necessarily work in your favor.

In fact, it could have the opposite effect, convincing a burglar that you have something worth stealing.

4. You live near an alley

If the rear of your home is situated on an alley, that could significantly up your chances of being victimized.

An alleyway provides the perfect opportunity for a burglar to get in and get out of your home unnoticed.

5. You drive a fancy car

Having an expensive set of wheels parked in your driveway can increase your burglary risk, according to an Australian study.

For burglars, signs of wealth are a significant factor in determining when and where a break-in will occur.

6. You have hired help

Bringing in a housekeeper or landscaper to help with upkeep around your home can save you time, but it can cost you in the long run.

Nearly a third of burglars report getting inside information on their targets, some of which comes directly from people who work for the victim.

7. Your home is hidden in the landscape

Trees and shrubs provide an excellent cover for would-be burglars to sneak into your home unnoticed. High fencing can also make you more susceptible to burglary, according to the Department of Justice.

8. You don't have a dog

Dogs are more than man's best friend — they can also be an effective shield against burglary.

Just over 50% of the burglars surveyed said that the presence of a dog would make them reconsider targeting a particular home.

9. You work during the day

While you may assume that most burglaries occur at night, that's actually not the case.

About 60% of burglaries take place in broad daylight, when homeowners are out of the house.

10. You live near a high-traffic area

According to the Department of Justice, living next to an area where there are heavy traffic patterns increases the odds of becoming a burglary victim. Homes that are located close to pedestrian walkways are also more at risk.

11. You keep cash in your home

The UNC Charlotte study found that cash is the number one item on burglars' theft list. Nearly 80% of burglars who responded said that they broke into someone's home with the intent to steal money.

12. Or you own expensive jewelry

Jewelry is also a big-ticket item for thieves looking to sell or pawn stolen goods. In the UNC Charlotte study, 68% of burglars said that the chance of finding jewelry was a significant motivator in determining which homes to rob.

13. You don't have kids

If you're single or you live with just your spouse, you may be especially attractive to burglars.

One logistical analysis found that the more people there are living in a house, the less likely burglars would strike.

14. You live in a state with lax burglary laws

The prospect of jail time may not be enough to put some burglars off. One study found that the lack of harsh punishments influenced criminals' decision to engage in burglary.

15. Median home values are lower in your area

Homes aren't the only things burglars scope out — your vehicles are also high on their wish list. In a University of Texas study, burglars were more likely to break into cars in neighborhoods where home values were on the decline.

16. Your home isn't very well lit

For burglars who prefer to operate under cover of dark, good lighting is a major deterrent. In a Dutch study, the odds of being burglarized decreased when homeowners installed motion sensor lighting or turned on outside lights around entryways.

17. Your home is located near a high-crime area

While some studies have shown that burglars may travel hundreds of miles to commit a crime, most break-ins are carried out by people who live nearby. According to a study from the Rochester Institute of Technology, the more familiar burglars are with a particular area, the more likely they are to target their neighbors.

18. You follow the same routine

Burglary is sometimes a crime of impulse, but many criminals take the time to observe potential victims beforehand.

A study from the UK suggests that repeating the same pattern in your daily rounds could make you an easier target for burglary, since thieves can predict what you'll be doing at any given time.

19. You own a gun

Owning one or more firearms may make you feel secure against a burglary threat, but the reality is very different.

A study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown that burglary rates tend to increase when more homeowners in a particular community own guns.

20. You rent instead of own

Renting has some financial advantages, but it's got a downside when it comes to burglary.

Research from the United Kingdom indicates that renters have a 37% greater chance of being robbed than homeowners.

21. You've been burglarized before

Numerous studies indicate that if you've been burglarized once, it's more likely to happen again.

In a Danish study, for example, the burglary rate was 5 1/2 times higher for households that experienced at least one break-in previously.

22. Or your neighbors have

If the house next door or across the street is hit by burglars, your home could be next. According to the Department of Justice, thieves are more likely to return to an area where a successful burglary has already been carried out.

23. You live in a newer neighborhood

Burglary tends to be less common in older, established neighborhoods where everyone knows everyone else. If you've put down stakes in an up-and-coming development, burglars may be able to cash in on the fact the community is less tight-knit.


Being burglarized can be devastating in more ways than one, and the more you can do to head it off, the better.

Understanding what motivates burglars and what makes you a more or less attractive target can go a long way towards helping you protect your home and possessions.

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a home security comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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