Debunking 5 Common Myths About Property Crimes
When it comes to security, there are all sorts of fictional stories and rules-of-thumb that have been in circulation so long they are now accepted as fact. Chances are, thanks to countless television shows, movies, and video games, you are familiar with a few of these, for example, criminals strike quickly and under the cover of night.
But the list of myths goes on and on. While these situations do happen, they can’t be relied on as indisputable facts. After nearly three decades in the industry, we are here to tell you that, unfortunately, the motives and methods behind property crimes aren’t always as predictable as we would like to think. As Coggin Security experts, we are here to help you arm yourself with the facts you need to know to keep you, your loved ones, and your belongings protected.
Fact vs Fiction: Myths About Property Crimes
#1 – You Probably Don’t Need to Worry About Property Crime
Wrong. There are many different types of property crimes that commonly occur throughout the United States, including burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft, and arson. In 2019 alone, there were an estimated 6,925,677 property crime offenses nationwide, resulting in losses estimated at $15.8 billion, with some of these occurring right here in our own backyard. NeighborhoodScout ranked Myrtle Beach as a 0 on its crime index scale, with 0 being the least safe and 100 being the safest.
In total, there were nearly 4,000 property crimes reported in 2019, with a crime rate of 113%. That means that your chances of becoming a victim of property crime are just 1 in 9. This is significantly higher than the national median of 21% and the South Carolina median of 29%. Oddly enough, property crime rates are significantly higher in the south, to which the warmer weather is a key contributor. These alarming statistics are evidence that everyone should be aware and concerned about the potential of a crime happening on your property.
#2 – A Security System Won’t Prevent a Crime from Happening
Most people believe that security systems are only helpful in alerting the appropriate authorities, not deterring a crime from happening in the first place. However, FBI crime analysts have determined that almost 90% of home burglaries can be prevented by putting in place some basic defenses. A study performed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology found that most criminals try to determine if a home has a security system before attempting to enter.
In fact, the convicted burglars in the study said that they would avoid homes with signs of a security system altogether and, if an alarm sounded, they quickly left. Truth be told, most people probably spend more on coffee in a month than it costs to protect their property. The average losses associated with a property crime, the cost of raised insurance premiums, and the emotional damage caused far exceed the cost of even the most advanced security systems.
#3 – Criminals Won’t Target Obvious Entry Points
It’s a common misconception that intruders enter a property through the backdoor. While this does happen, criminals target other entry points around the home more often than you would expect. The FBI says that about 33% of intruders enter through none other than the front door. In fact, even burglars that enter through other entryways such as windows, backdoors, and garages, almost always start at the front door.
Almost all home invasions (about 95%) require some sort of forceful entry such as breaking a window, picking a lock, or kicking in a door. The most common tools used in a break-in are crowbars, pliers, screwdrivers, and hammers. Almost all of these tools can be picked up at your nearest hardware store, making them essentially untraceable. Unfortunately, it is because of this that arrests can’t be made. Having a video doorbell or outdoor security camera placed at eye-level toward the main entrance can help authorities identify an intruder should the worst happen.
#4 – Criminals Wait for the Cover of Night
Though most people assume criminals wait until after dark, the large majority of residential property crimes such as thefts and break-ins occur during the day, between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm. Experienced offenders will often survey the neighborhood during the daytime, often disguised as a jogger, salesperson, or maintenance professional, and take advantage of an easy target. On the other hand, many commercial buildings are targeted during evening hours and weekends.
Criminals want to go undetected, whether it be when parents are at work and children are at school or when employees are out of the office. The reality is, though, that crime can happen at any time. An opportunistic thief will not think twice about breaking into your home or vehicle if something catches their attention. Having a reliable security system and Myrtle Beach security cameras covering potential entry points, especially your doorways and driveways, are the best ways to keep an eye on your home while you are away.
#5 – Criminals Enter & Exit as Quickly as Possible
Indeed, many offenders do not want to spend a lot of time in the act. According to national crime statistics, the average burglary lasts between 90 seconds and 12 minutes, typically about 8 minutes. However, this isn’t always the case. The New York Times highlighted how many burglars will take their time when they burglarize a property. Many will take time to find and collect high-value items like laptops, phones, jewelry, and cash. Anything that is small, easily pocketed, and can provide a quick turn-around at a pawn shop is a prime target.
Some intruders may even stop to have a snack right at your very kitchen table in the process. The same goes for car theft. While many assume that modern cars are much more difficult to steal, car theft methods have seemed to match technological advancements. Most cars, even hi-tech cars, can be stolen in just a matter of minutes without requiring the original key. The point is that people are unpredictable, and you can never safely assume a criminal’s underlying motivations.
#6 – Criminals Only Target the Same Property Once
If you have ever been the victim of a property crime, you are well aware of what a traumatic experience it is. Having your sense of safety and comfort stripped away and your personal belongings taken is disparaging. Understandably, many victims become extremely worried and cautious to the point of paranoia afterward. Nevertheless, the last thing you expect is to be a victim for a second time. Unfortunately, the M.O. of many criminals is to strike the same place more than once, even within a short timeframe.
If they aren’t caught after the first time, they may be more confident in their abilities and hit when you are most vulnerable and unsuspecting. Such offenders also have more intimate knowledge of the layout and inner workings of your property. That said, if you have been the victim of a crime, it’s important not to make the same mistake twice. Contact one of our security technicians today to learn how we can help you ramp up your security today.
Ways You Can Help Protect Your Home
There are many lessons to be learned from these myths, however, the key takeaway is to always be prepared. Most thieves are typically not professionals but instead are opportunists looking to make a quick buck. Therefore, the who, what, when, where, and why of a crime can’t always be predicted.
That’s why implementing the following safety measures is so important. Have a general understanding of what burglars look for before breaking and entering. Install Myrtle Beach security cameras around all entry points and structures around your property including doorways, windows, garages, driveways, and back gates. Utilize timed lights and motion sensors to simulate that someone is there, even if you are away.
Keep your property well-lit and free from overgrown shrubbery and clutter that can serve as a hiding spot for a potential intruder. Always lock up around your property, from your car to your front door. If you know you tend to forget this step, consider replacing your traditional locks with keyless smart locks. Avoid hiding keys in obvious places such as under a welcome mat, under a rock or potted plant, or in your mailbox. Be sure to clean your garage keypad so burglars won’t guess your code based on the numbers you have hit the most.
Protecting your valuables shouldn’t be a short-term plan, though. Investing in a dependable security system provides year-round protection for the things you care about most. Not to mention, 24/7 peace of mind. Contact Coggin Security today to learn more about our commercial and residential security solutions!
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