Pop culture often has a very dazzling narrative around burglars; the problem is, this portrayal of the snazzy cat burglar isn’t accurate and could be fogging some homeowner’s perception of what protection they need. Here are some myths perpetuated by pop culture and the realities that accompany them.

The Look

Cat burglars in the movies and on TV are often portrayed in extremes. Sometimes, it’s a super slick and sexy criminal wearing a flattering outfit; their passion for stealing is born of passion as they fall in love with diamonds, gold, money, information, etc. Others are hip, cool kids, enjoying the ride of life, stealing for the thrill of it. And others still are total duds: clumsy, naive, and foolish. The stories of movies, books, and TV shows need their burglars to fit into these archetypes, but reality doesn’t operate so simply.

Most burglars aren’t operating on passion or impulsive whim. Most are just taking advantage of an opportunity or vulnerability. Burglars aren’t born with a distinctive mark or look; they can look like the person you’d least expect. Don’t overestimate the perceived safety of your neighborhood; let your guard down and the opportunity will arise.

The Masterplan

In pop culture, burglar plots often involve a highly elaborate plan. The criminal (or criminal group) plans (and bonds) for months, drawing out blueprints and thinking of every little step. They go in under the cover of night to unfold their specific plan of action. On the other hand, sometimes the foolish burglar will just fumble in without much forethought at all!

The reality lies, again, in between these extremes. Most burglars don’t plan extensively, and rarely do they decide to do it on impulse. Burglars will usually scout and watch a location for a while to get an idea of patterns and schedules. But they aren’t typically masterminds; they’re just looking for typical vulnerabilities (like unlocked doors or unarmed systems), not drawing out blueprints and attack formations. Furthermore, most burglaries actually happen during the day, when they believe nobody’s home.

Foiled Again!

In the movies, the cat burglars must pass through many obstacles like laser sensors, booby traps, and secret doors to get to the delicious loot on a pedestal. When they succeed, the victim of the looting throws a fist up in the air or down onto a table: foiled again. They’ve lost a precious part of their collection or piece to their puzzle. It’ll take 30% more of the story for them to regain that ground again.

However, in the real world, burglaries that don’t take precious jewels or cause million-dollar setbacks can be devastating and painful for the victims—sometimes even more so when the household is a struggling middle-class family rather than a millionaire in a mansion. An average burglary nets a loss of around $2,000. To the burglar, that’s just a number, a profit. But to the victim’s household, it’s more personal. Often, things are broken in the house—keepsakes, heirlooms, children’s creations. Items like computers and jewelry aren’t just a resale price to the original owners; they contain data, work, irreplaceable memories, sentimental meaning, and more.

Avoid Becoming a Target

Home burglary is real, and it hurts. Here are some tips for keeping your day to day routine centered on deterring and stopping burglars.

  • Make sure there are deadbolts on all of your exterior doors. Use them when your family is all home for the night.
  • Always lock your doors, no matter how short of a trip you’re making.
  • Arm your system whenever you leave.
  • Make sure your Protect America home security sign is visible outside your home, letting burglars know that they’ll only be getting themselves into trouble.
  • Arm your system at night when everyone is home.
  • Test your alarm system regularly. Protect America recommends you contact us for a communications test at least once a year.

Protect America is dedicated to protecting your family. Call us today at 1-888-951-5136 with any questions to talk to a security expert.