What Makes A Burglar’s Mind Tick?
According to Western Australian Police Crime Statistics there were 26,159 home burglaries and over 132,880 instances of total theft in Western Australia last financial year.
In order to work out the behaviour patterns of burglars the police interviewed apprehended criminals in order to answer:
- How do burglars plan and target sites for burglary?
- How much time is taken in planning and carrying out a burglary?
- What is the usual value of goods stolen and how are they offloaded?
- What do burglars perceive as the most common mistakes property owners make that facilitate burglary?
Here is what was found:
Planning & Target Selection
Approximately one third of offenders had planned their burglaries with two thirds committing opportunistic burglaries that were unplanned and spontaneous.
Major factors used to select viable targets were:
- no alarm system or limited security;
- no dogs;
- sites with desired goods to steal.
- vacancy of premises:
- absence of signs of movement/occupation;
- no cars in driveway;
- no response after knocking on doors.
- property characteristics:
- wide driveway;
- proximity of neighbours;
- open doors/windows.
Once a property was selected two thirds of invasions were made possible via entry through unlocked doors and windows with the remainder via forced entry of doors and windows. No respondents had entered via the roof or skylights or other means.
Scarily whilst most criminals reported they would stay away from an active or busy street 46.2% of burglars said they would enter a property whilst homeowners were inside if they thought they could get away with it.
Night-time between 6pm and 7am was the preferred target for 41.3% of criminal respondents with another 37.9% preferring daylight hours (7am – 6pm) and the remainder willing to burgle at any time proving there is no time safe from home invasion.
Regardless of the time of day 75% of respondents stated they would obtain entry to the property within 5 minutes with 69% staying inside the property for less than 15 minutes after entry.
Disposal of Goods
23.1% report selling or swapping goods directly with their drug dealer
12.3% with friends or family
12.3% with a stranger
12.3% reporting keeping the item for themselves, with the remainder sold to pawnbrokers, fences and second hand dealers or otherwise disposed of.
Common Householder Mistakes
Participants were asked whether a series of factors would typically deter them from entering a property. Security measures such as alarms, and grilled windows and doors were noted as an effective deterrent by burglars as well as the presence of a guard dog.
Lesser deterrents listed by less than 1/4 of burglars were the visibility of the property from the road, use of sensor lights and gates.
This data corroborates with other studies that have shown that households with active security alarms account for only 2% of burglaries making them the key defense against burglar activity.
To learn more about security measures to protect your home and some simple security tips view our Security Tips.
(A full report on this study can be found at the Australian Institute of Criminology).