What Motivates and Deters Burglary?

As in many areas of life, knowing is half the battle, and knowing why burglars choose certain homes can help you protect yours. What if you could get into the mind of a burglar and see how they think, and what they look for in potential victims homes? A research study completed by The University of North Carolina at Charlotte does just that. The study closely examined the decision-making processes of 422 randomly-selected, incarcerated male and female burglars across three states (North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio)

Here are 3 of the 5 questions that were the central focus of the study,

  1. What motivates burglars to engage in burglary?
  2. What factors are considered by burglars during planning?
  3. What deters burglars from burglarizing specific targets?

1. What causes someone to engage in burglary?

The Study found that many people who engage in burglary are already seasoned offenders and that some of their main motivations for breaking into your home can be drugs, money, foolishness, and thrill-seeking. In fact, (81%) said their top reason for committing burglaries was related to their need to acquire drugs (51%) or money (37%).

2. Is a burglary planned, or spur of the moment?

Under 1/3 of offenders reported that they collected any information on a potential target, which means that most burglaries are spur of the moment affairs. Half reported that after they found a potential target, the burglary occurred within a day, while 16% indicated that they planned for 1-3 days before attempting the burglary.

3. What deters burglars from certain homes or properties?

The overwhelming majority of burglars reported that any existence of home alarm system, such as cameras or alarms deter burglars from continuing. About 60% of burglars said that the presence of an alarm, outdoor camera, or other surveillance equipment would make them choose another target altogether. This means that apparent and visible home or property security deterred most burglars from even continuing with their plans.

At this point, you may be asking, but wouldn’t the threat of imprisonment or fines also deter criminals from burglarizing your home? The answer, quite shockingly, was the criminals actually aren’t worried about imprisonment when burglarizing your home. In fact, they were more afraid of running into you at the property, or getting hurt while burglarizing!

This means that vigilance and preventive home security measures actually keep burglars from choosing your home! If they believe that you are there (even if you’re not) they won’t try to break into your home, and that alarms and video cameras make them feel even less confident about breaking into your home.

What we’ve provided here is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this study. If you want more information, or want to read the study in its entirety, this is the link to details on the study completed by UNC Charlotte.

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