Home Break-ins: Why They Happen and How to Secure Your Home

People expect to be safe at home. However, no matter what we do, we cannot control the actions of other people. Even in the comfort of our own home, somebody might still attempt to enter, steal, and even perform a crime in the house.

For this article, we focus on home break-ins, how and why they occur, and what to do to prevent them. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to behave in case a home invasion happens in your home.

What Are Home Invasions?

The Office for Victims of Crime defines burglary as a forced and illegal entry of a person to any fixed structure; a fixed structure can include a house, a vehicle, or a business property.

A home invasion is a mixture of both residential burglary and street robbery. A home robber’s action is entering a residence without permission to obtain items from the household; they are as dangerous as street robbers because they confront their victims. Residential burglars are different from home robbers in the sense that the former does not usually confront victims; instead, they try to avoid it.

To clarify, home invasion robbers force entry into a home, seek confrontation, use or threaten with violence, and demand money and property from their victims. The clear objective of a home invasion robber is to steal property, whether it be money or any valuable item. Some may have other motivations like retaliation to an enemy. Sometimes, a home burglary can lead to sexual assault.

In the US, home robberies make up 14 percent of the total robberies committed. A study reveals that around 21 percent of robbers have tried stealing from a residence. A separate study found out that next to the streets and the banks, the home is the next target of robbers.

The Risk

When a home burglary happens, victims may lose their property and hard-earned money. They may also shell out more money to fix the damage caused by robbers. At the same time, since the robbery happens at home, victims may feel a sense of loss because most items found in a home have sentimental value.

Aside from losing property, victims may suffer from injury, or worse, death. Violence can easily occur at home because, unlike the streets, the house provides a private space for robbers to do whatever they want. Also, trauma is possible since their sense of privacy and safety is shattered after a home robbery incident.

Why Does a Home Burglary Happen?


Several factors contribute to the occurrence of home invasion robberies. A home robber identifies its victims based on the home’s community or neighborhood. If there are repeated home invasion robberies within the area, chances are, it will attract more robbers.

At the same time, home robbers may target weaker individuals who cannot fight amidst confrontation. An example is a senior citizen living on their own. The homeowner potentially has many valuables with the home; when a home robber targets their place, they have no chance of winning against a fight.

Therefore, home robbers target those who can easily be victimized; simultaneously, the robbery should be worth it in terms of the value of the items in a home. Additionally, robbers can also target homes during special events where homeowners are usually busy and away from home; this includes holidays like Christmas and New Year.

Home Burglary Prevention

Several ways can be done to prevent your home from being a target. Installing new home systems is the first thing you need to do. Make sure that each entryway in your home is secure, including windows and doors. To walk homeowners through, service providers give them a security door installation guide.

Being part of the community is also essential in preventing these robbery incidents. It is best to start a neighborhood watch; seeking help from the local police department to have an officer conduct regular surveillance in the area is also a good idea. When on holiday, one can also ask neighbors to keep watch on your household.

Additionally, always make it look like someone is at home even when no one is. This is to discourage burglars and robbers from entering the home. Lighting up a room in the house and the exteriors can make it appear like someone is at home; at the same time, robbers love the dark and hate the light; having light at home can make them more visible and easily caught.


The University of Southern California offers several steps on what to do when a robbery happens. It states that a victim must remain calm and should not attempt to resist to keep themselves safe. Arguing will only trigger the robber to confront them and use violence. While staying calm, one must make a mental note of the attacker’s appearance to track them once the robbery finishes. As soon as the robbery incident ends, they must report it to the authorities so that they can catch the culprit and crack down on home break-ins.