Do Burglars Return to the Scene of the Crime?

If the predictable plot points perpetuated by TV procedurals hold any truth, then yes, criminals often return to the scene of their crime. Are there any truths hidden within these primetime fictions? Do burglars really come back? The answer may surprise you!


Why Burglars are Likely to Come Back

Picture of a burglar with a crowbar stalking a house

Statistics and research show that yes, indeed, burglars come back, and they’ll probably come back for your neighbor’s stuff, too. “For almost a decade, research has shown that once a burglary occurs on a street, the homes on that street and on nearby streets are at a much higher risk of burglary over the next one to two weeks (Police Foundation).”

In his top-selling textbook, Criminology, Larry Siegel lists six commonly accepted reasons why burglars are likely to come back for more:

Layout familiarity

Once a burglar has had a chance to “case the joint,” as they say, they are much more likely to know where your valuables are kept, making it easy to plan for a second visit. And if you live in a development or area where your neighbor’s floorplans are similar to yours, “layout familiarity” also increases the likelihood that nearby homes with standard layouts may be next up on the burglar’s list.

If You Care About it, You’ll Replace It

If you’re unfortunate enough to have been a victim of a burglary, but fortunate enough to have homeowners or renters insurance, then it’s likely that you’ll move quickly to replace stolen valuables. A savvy thief will likely assume that within a few weeks, you’ll have replaced and maybe even upgraded your HDTV, iPad, and computer equipment, replaced prescriptions, and attended to other household necessities. In this instance, for the burglar, it’s a case of two for the price of one.

It’s Just Easier

It takes less effort to rob a home that a criminal already knows is vulnerable. If they’ve done the work to get in once, perhaps they’ve unlocked windows or snatched your spare key from the mantle, making it far easier for a repeat performance.

Entrance and Exit Routes are Known

Once a burglar has made themselves at home in your home, it’s likely that they’ve taken the time to plot alternative entrance and exit points. We addressed this in-depth in a previous article,  Common Burglary Entry Points and How to Prevent a Home Invasion, 5 Tips For Keeping Would-be Thieves out of your Home.

Knows that You Lack Protective Measures

If your home has been successfully robbed, the burglar knows that you don’t have an alarm system, a vicious dog, or nosey neighbors. If the first robbery was a success, it stands to reason that the second attempt will be as well.

Knows What Other Valuables You Have (and Where)

Let’s assume that the burglar was feeling pressed for time, but noted where you keep your high-ticket items. If you were feeling a sense of relief that your new sound system was still safely installed, you may want to think again. It’s not at all unlikely that the burglar is already planning their second break-in.

What You Can do to Prevent a Repeat Break-in

There’s no doubt, a break-in is unsettling and leaves many people feeling violated. Although it may take time for these feelings to pass, there are several things you can do after a home burglary to reclaim your space and take control.

Get a dog

Or, at the very least, pretend to get a dog. If you’re not a dog person, that’s okay. Often a water bowl and a conspicuous “Beware of Dog” sign will do the trick.

Install Motion Sensors

Keep your front porch, side yard, and backyard well-illuminated with motion-detecting lights. If you’re worried about wildlife setting them off, look for lights that can be adjusted for sensitivity.

Install Outdoor Security Cameras

Install a home security camera system that records activity around your home while you’re away. Once an intruder sees they are on camera, he or she will likely move on to an easier target.

Don’t Flaunt Your Big-Ticket Items

If you’ve just purchased a new computer or home entertainment system, don’t leave the packaging on the curb for a week. Take care to hide the evidence so it doesn’t attract an unwanted criminal element.

Hide it Well

Don’t keep your valuables in your underwear drawer, bedside table, medicine cabinet, or under your mattress. They’re cliche hiding spots for a reason: everyone looks there.

Get an Alarm System

Not only does the front yard sign deter better than anything else you can do, but you’ll rest easier at night and while you’re away from home. Being the victim of a home invasion is a traumatic event and a simple, affordable home security system protects you, your family, and your belongings.

Recommended Article: 10 Great Reasons for Installing a Home Security System

To learn more about residential security or to install an affordable home alarm system, contact NCA today.

UncategorizedJames Stein