Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Trends in Household Burglary

First, the good news: the number of household burglaries fell sharply between 1994 and 2011—down 56 percent, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Now for the bad news: the median dollar value of the items stolen in completed burglaries grew from $389 to $600 during those years, after adjusting for inflation.

What do burglars want? The same thing the rest of us want: portable electronic devices. In 2011, portable electronics were the most commonly stolen items, taken in 34 percent of completed burglaries. Cash, credit cards, purses, and wallets were stolen in a much smaller 17 percent of completed burglaries. Interestingly, even criminals have turned into couch potatoes. Burglaries in which bicycles or sporting equipment was stolen fell from 13 percent of the total in 1994 to just 9 percent in 2011.

Isolating yourself from your fellow man does little to protect you from burglary. In 2011, the number of completed burglaries per 1,000 households was higher in rural than in urban areas (26.3 in urban areas versus 27.2 in rural areas). Living in a gated community does not offer all that much protection either. The rate of completed burglaries in gated communities was 20.1 versus an only somewhat higher 24.9 outside the gates.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Household Burglary, 1994-2011

No comments: