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5 Behaviors of Burglars To Know

window burglarly

When it comes to home security, a big part of preventing burglary before it happens is understanding how burglars target and carry out their attack. Continuous advances in security technologies have certainly made it more difficult for burglars to make a getaway after burglarizing a home, but if criminals have one quality, it would be persistence.

Even though you may have already set up your home with an ADT security system, another great form of defense is knowing the behaviors of burglars. In helping combat future crimes, there have been a decent amount of academic studies that investigate the problem.

1. Burglars are checking if you have an alarm

According to a study conducted by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, burglars are checking to see if targeted homes are armed with a home security system. The study found that out of 400 surveyed former burglars, about 83% said that they would check to see if a security system was up and running.

60% said that they would then move on to another target after determining the armed home is too much of a risk.

2. Burglars want your cash (possibly to support a drug habit)


In the same study by UNC Charlotte, one of the top motivators for burglars to commit their crime was to acquire cash to support a drug habit. This goes against why most people might assume a burglary is committed – to obtain high-value goods such as firearms. Just over half of the surveyed burglars said that their primary intention was to acquire goods for drugs.

With this in mind, keeping your cash in a well-hidden spot would be a good tactic.

3. Burglars are more likely to strike during the day

” I always do it in the daytime. Never at night. People are at home at night,” said convicted burglar Mark McNally in a report from WTHR Indiana in 2012. While just one instance, it reflects another common misconception that people have about when burglars choose to strike. Most burglaries do happen during the daytime hours when burglars assume that people are at work.

Make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked when you are away at all times. Even when the sun is shining, it won’t necessarily stop a burglar from making an attempt on breaking into your home.

4. Burglars are paying attention to what’s outside of your home

While the contents of inside of your home are the main target for burglars, they are devoting plenty of attention towards what’s happening outside as well. According to the UNC Charlotte study, burglars select a target based off a series of metrics. This includes how close other homes are to the one they are targeting, neighborhood and/or street traffic, security cameras, and more.

McNally, the convicted burglar in the piece done by WTHR, said that he would go after homes that weren’t “as packed together”.

If you think like a burglar, you would want to find the path of least resistance when trying to make your escape. Thinking about how your home’s setting fits into these external factors can mean greater home security.

5. Burglars are most likely to commit a forced entry

According to a 2010 crime report conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, around 60.5% of burglaries that were investigated were found to be via forced entry.

While burglars entering homes easily due to an unlocked door is certainly not unheard of, making sure that your door is reinforced with the right locks and hinges can mean the difference between an intrusion and the burglar deciding to move on to the next home.

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