2018 Update

Although over a year old, all of the information in this article is still relevant. The odds of your burglary actually being solved may surprise you; scroll down to find out how. 

In the dead of night a burglar broke in. Valuables were taken, the home was turned upside down, and home security equipment wasn’t available to show police officers any suspects or provide leads on burglars. Fingerprints weren’t found on glass — and wood, carpet, and other home materials don’t hold fingerprints well. The most unfortunate thing — the odds of your burglary being solved are slim to none.

According to data from the FBI, only one in ten cases will be solved, this is the national average for police departments that are serving populations of one million or more people.

FBI crime stats tell us that a burglary takes place in the United States every 18 seconds. A property crime, which includes larceny-theft, motor and vehicle burglary, takes place every 3.8 seconds. In 2014, only 13.6% of burglaries resulted in arrest.

This problem isn’t exclusive to the United States. Across the pond in England and Wales, they shut down 80.2% of investigations and break-ins without identifying a suspect in 2014.


Why Aren’t Burglaries Solved?

Many burglaries remain open cases because there is simply a lack of evidence to draw from. Law enforcement are left without fingerprints, evidence, or anything to gather information from other than what was stolen and when it was taken.

This frustrates both law enforcement and victims. Burglaries are events that leave victims feeling extremely vulnerable and they look to law enforcement to respond to them and ease their trauma. But more often than not, law enforcement simply doesn’t have enough evidence to pursue the case or close it.

Even when officers, law enforcement and crime responders do a good job after the crime, it’s still unlikely that the burglary is solved. Some victims are extremely frustrated by this, but the lack of resolution doesn’t have to do with officer negligence.

Stolen items may have been common goods. It’s actually easier to find special items, like jewelry or other unique items, because these items have more identifiers than a common item. Common items include electronics like Xbox’s, iPad’s, TV’s, and others that can’t be distinguished from similar devices. It doesn’t help that users don’t normally place serial numbers on these items. Burglars quickly take stolen items to pawn shops or online sites like Ebay and Craigslist. This makes retrieval that much more difficult.

Police departments across the nation are required by the FBI to report their rate of “clearances” for many crimes including burglaries. According to the FBI, a case can only be cleared if an arrest is made or if it’s cleared exceptionally, which is defined as those rare instances when the offender dies or the victim refuses to operate with prosecutors.

Property crime affects the most people of all crimes, and victims are usually met with overwhelmed police departments, so they get the impression that law enforcement doesn’t care about their case. This isn’t true.

Many burglars even return to the scene of the crime, and burglars aren’t usually one time offenders. If an officer is able to catch one burglar, he may be hindering a string of successful break-ins.


Nip the Problem in the Bud

According to Safewise, a burglar can get the job done in less than ten minutes. This means that catching them during the act will be difficult and depend on a home security system with a quality and reliable connection to central monitoring.

The difficulty involved with catching a burglar during the act may be a big factor in why many of these crimes go unsolved.

When it comes to burglary, you want to nip the threat in the bud. Burglary needs to be prevented long before it happens, rather than trying to prevent it after the fact. You want to have a house that is monitored and discourages burglars via visible signs that advertise home security accompanied with visible cameras.

How to stop the problem before it happens

  • Purchase home security equipment.
  • Promote equipment with signs and visible cameras.
  • Install motion sensors and aim video cameras at all doors.
  • Ask neighbors to keep an eye on the home if you’ll be away.
  • Keep the exterior of the home clean. This includes avoiding public displays of affluence.
  • Have monitored security with a live-stream of events in the home that stores recordings in the cloud.
  • Keep an inventory of items in the home and place a serial number on important items. This will let you know what was taken and possibly help you recover valuables if they are taken to a pawn shop or other retailer. Our guide will show you how.

If you have home security, you’ll be less likely to be ill prepared in case of an event. You’ll have the resources for officers and a central monitoring station to respond to a burglary, and you’ll have video evidence and possible a timeline of motion sensor alerts to know when and where the event took place.

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