Burglary is classified as a property crime for the purposes of state and national crime statistics. However, sometimes someone is at home during a burglary, and these crimes are not as simple to classify.
In some states, these incidents may be classified as robberies, but other states have home invasion laws on the books and classify these incidents as such. The limited number of states that use the term "home invasion" in their state laws include intent of the offender as part of the definition. In other words, the home invasion offender broke in with the expectation of someone being present, or with the intent to commit a violent crime.
Data on home invasion-type burglaries must be pieced together from various sources, but there are some national statistics on burglaries that take place when the victim's home is occupied, and there are lessons to be learned from them. Information in this article is taken from downloadable spreadsheets compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau* and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.**
What National Home Invasion Statistics Say
Here are some national stats about home invasions:
- From 2003 to 2007, there were around 3.7 million burglaries per year.
- A household member was present during the burglary in approximately 28% of these incidents.
- Of that 28%, approximately 26% involved some form of violence.
- Of the yearly 3.7 million burglaries, a household member was present in approximately 1 million of them, and around 266,500 victims became victims of violence.
- The most common form of violence in these situations is simple assault, though robbery and rape do occasionally take place.
- In 65% of violent burglaries, the offenders were known to the victim.
- Most offenders were unarmed during violent confrontations, though approximately 12% of household members who encounter a burglar find the offender to be armed with a firearm.
- Serious injuries occurred in approximately 9% of cases where a member of the house experienced violence during a burglary.
States with the Highest Burglary Rates
Based on state-by-state data from 2009, the states with the highest burglary rates per 100,000 residents were:
- Arkansas, with 1,224.1 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- North Carolina, with 1,165.6 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- New Mexico, with 1,117.3 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- Mississippi with 1,085.2 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- Alabama, with 1,058.9 2 burglaries per 100,000 residents
States with the Lowest Burglary Rates
Based on the same data from 2009, the states with the lowest burglary rates were:
- New York, with 321.6 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- South Dakota, with 324.0 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- Montana, with 374.1 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- North Dakota, with 375.7 burglaries per 100,000 residents
- New Hampshire, with 383.7 burglaries per 100,000 residents
Help Protect Your Home with Comprehensive Home Security
No community is immune to burglary, but you can do quite a bit to help protect your home with overall home security. Simple awareness and commitment to locking all doors and windows consistently is the foundation of good home security. Physical security measures, such as high-quality deadbolt locks and window locks, add another layer of security.
Home security systems are another way increasing numbers of homeowners are helping prevent burglary. Homes equipped with home security systems are two times less likely to be broken into than homes that do not have systems.† Fortunately, violence during burglaries is rare. Take measures to help prevent burglary and you further reduce your chances of becoming the victim of violence during a break-in.
†Burglar Alarms and the Choice Behavior of Burglars: A Suburban Phenomenon; 1993; George F. Rengert; Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University.