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DOJ: Average dollar amount stolen during burglary in excess of $2,000

Posted On Mon, June 24, 2013

New details on property crime indicate that while household burglaries have diminished over the past two decades or so in the U.S., the perpetrators of these invasions have made off with more valuables and money.

According to newly released data from the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1994 and 2011, the rate of completed burglaries dropped overall. Specifically, among households located in the city, burglaries fell by 63 percent over the 17-year period and by 74 percent among middle-income families, or those making at least $75,000 each year. At the same time, though, the median dollar value of the items and cash stolen was $600 in 2011. During the same time in 1984, the median value was just under $390, when adjusted for inflation. Additionally, during 2011 specifically, the average dollar amount lost was $2,120.

Not only did household burglaries become fewer in number over the study period, so too did burglaries of all types. The Justice Department reports that the rate of all burglaries plummeted by 56 percent, moving from 63.4 for every 1,000 households to 27.6 percent.

It wasn't until the early 2000s that technology device use increased substantially, largely due to the boom of the internet and handheld units, specifically cellphones. With this increased availability came more thefts of them as well. DOJ notes that theft of electronic devices jumped from 28 percent in 2001 to 34 percent a decade later.

Arrests resulting from burglary investigation increase modestly
Something else that took place with greater frequency was burglary investigations made by police officers. DOJ says that when contrasting 1994 with 2011, there were more promises of investigation and police inquiries involving potential burglary attempts in more recent years than the mid-1990s. However, these probes didn't result in many more arrests. Just 10 percent of investigations led to an ensuring arrest versus 8 percent in 1994.

Burglary statistics reveal that one of the most common times of the year in which household theft takes place is in the summer, largely due to how many people take advantage of the period by  going on vacation with family and loved ones. Not being around the home can increase the risk of a home being infiltrated if the proper precautions aren't taken.

Contact police before leaving for vacation
A helpful way in which to diminish theft risk is by getting in touch with the police department. Though officers may be busy, they routinely perform details of neighborhoods, checking to ensure that everything is as it should be and that there aren't any signs of suspicious activity. By informing the police of when the family will be gone, this may cause officers to increase their vigilance of the neighborhood or perform their sweeps more regularly.

Something else homeowners may want to consider is installing a home security system. These technologies have thwarted an untold number of burglary attempts when invaders unwittingly trip a line or are spotted on security cameras. Some of these units connect directly to local police enforcement offices, alerting those on staff when someone has attempted a break-in.

Additionally, safety devices like these can help homeowners reduce their insurance rates. Security systems diminish the chances of a burglary attempt being made. This lower likelihood can translate into substantial savings, depending on history of crime in the area and the policies of the insurer in question.

Homeowners should also be sure to avoid certain tasks that may encourage a theft to take place. For example, when placing trash at the end of a driveway so waste management can haul it away, it's best not to include boxes or packaging of a high-priced product, such as a high-definition television. It's better to break these boxes down so that they're less conspicuous.

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