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Burglary Stats: Investigating the FBI’S 2015 Uniform Crime Report

October 19th, 2016

In 1929 the International Association of Chiefs of Police realized they needed a dependable collection of crime stats. In 1930 the FBI took the responsibility of collecting, publishing, and archiving all of the stats collected. This pairing established what has become known as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

These reports compile official data on crime in the United States according to information from the FBI. All materials are gathered in a nationwide effort that collects data from over 18,000 city, university, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies who willingly aid by reporting crimes that come to their attention. Crimes range anywhere from homicide to cargo theft.

The Uniform Crime Report is used by law enforcement executives, criminal justice students, researchers, members of the media, the public, and even home security companies. Four different publications are produced every year based on the statistics received, including Crime in the United States, National Incident-Based Reporting System, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, and Hate Crime Statistics.

So, What Does The Crime Report Have to do with Home  Security?

The FBI Uniform Crime Report tells us what’s happening in the world of burglary, larceny-theft, and property crime, which are all issues that pertain to home security and safety. This report helps companies like Protect America, homeowners, and law enforcement understand crime trends. When trends are understood, the best approach to security for our homes and communities can formulated.

How are Burglary, Larceny, and Property Crime Defined?

According to the UCR Program, property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Burglary itself is defined as the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony of theft, which means that use of force is not necessary to categorize a situation as a burglary.

A “structure” is defined as anything ranging from apartment, barn, house trailer or houseboat (when used as a permanent dwelling), office, railroad car, stable or vessel (like a ship).

Property crime combines all instances of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. (Arson is usually a crime of force, but arson data is not tracked, because it’s reporting varies due to participating organization. So, arson is not included in property crime estimations.)

The FBI defines larceny-theft as the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another person. This can range from taking items, including: bicycles, motor vehicle parts and accessories, to theft actions, including: shoplifting, pickpocketing, or theft of any item by force or violence. Items taken via fraud are included, which means that larceny can include embezzlement, confidence games, forgery, check fraud, and others.

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How Did 2015 Look?

Overall 2015 was a year that saw many declines in crime. Property crime dropped by 2.6%, which marks the 13th year the collective estimates for these offenses declined. We saw a total of 7,993,631 property crimes, a decline compared to 2014.

A 7.8% percent drop in burglary occurred, and larceny-theft also went down by 1.8%, but motor vehicle thefts did rise by 3.1%.

The grand total of losses for property crime victims was $14.3 billion. Stolen property (currency, jewelry, motor vehicles, electronics, firearms) had a combined value of over $12 billion. Larceny-theft accounted for 71.4% of property crime, while burglary accounted for 19.8% of the estimated property crime.

The rate of property crime in 2015 was calculated at 2,487 per 100,000 inhabitants, which amounted for a 3.4% decrease when compared to the 2014 estimate. The 2015 rate was also 14.4% lower than the rate in 2011, and a huge gap of 25.7% less than what was seen in 2006. The crime report tells us that burglary victims suffered around $3.6 billion lost in property, and this tallies about $2,316 per burglary.

The Takeaway

The biggest takeaway when we look at crime statistics for 2015 is that burglary, property crime, and larceny-theft rates overall are going down. This is encouraging, and we hope that this trend continues.

But what the Uniform Crime Report doesn’t tell us is why these crimes are trending down. Crime prevention factors possibly include neighborhood watches, more police, restoration of communities, and of course, home security. Remember, some cities also have higher burglary rates than the national average. Be sure to be in the know of what crimes are most prevalent in your neighborhood, community, and state.  

Without knowing the factors, it’s important not to jump to conclusions regarding these statistics and assume that’s it’s safe to become more lax about safety precaution. Remain vigilant, and take all of the proper precautionary steps to prevent a break-in or property crime.

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