Good news: burglary is trending downward. According to the FBI, in 2012, there was a 3.7 percent decrease in burglaries since 2011. And preliminary 2013 data indicates that property crimes – burglaries, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft – decreased by 5.4 percent.
This is great news, but unfortunately, it’s also a silver lining to a large problem. There are still far too many burglaries occurring in the U.S. — more than 2 million per year. And burglars are consistently finding new ways to steal your belongings. Here’s what they’re up to in 2014.
Five Burglary Trends in 2014
- Metal detectors – To quickly get in and out of a victim’s home, burglars are using metal detectors to find where you hide your valuables.
- Cash for gold – Burglars are carrying cash-for-gold envelopes during their break-ins, allowing them to immediately turn in their stolen goods for profit. This also allows them to quickly get rid of any evidence tying them to the burglary.
- Marking targets – If a random sticker appears on your door, be weary – it could be a burglar marking your house as a target after surveillance. The sticker could even appear to be from a real company, but keep in mind that companies do not have the right to mark your property without consent.
- Garage theft – Garages are becoming increasingly popular targets for thieves, as they’re usually less protected and easier to access. They also often contain valuable items – like bikes, tools, boxes of goodies, etc. – and have a door leading to the main part of the house.
- Apple picking – A term derived from the popularity of the Apple iPhone, burglars are ‘picking’ smartphones from pockets and even straight from the hands of unsuspecting victims.
Dangers of Oversharing
In addition to being an attractive target for burglars, smartphones are involved with another burglary trend. It has to do with how you use them, especially in regards to social media.
Seemingly insignificant shares reveal information about your current location. Checking into a restaurant, posting pictures at the beach and a simple tweet about the movie you’re watching might seem harmless, but a burglar will view them as announcements that your home is currently empty – and ripe for the picking.
Be careful of oversharing on social media. Find out what you should avoid sharing in this previous blog post.
Smart Home Security Breach
The final – but certainly not the last – burglary trend to watch out for involves smart homes. The technology itself isn’t the problem, but rather it’s the way people are using smart technology.
Smart devices need to connect to the internet, so people connect it to their home WiFi network – the same network used for a smartphone, computer and tablet. Unfortunately, most users do not protect their smart devices and as a result, hackers and thieves can hack those devices and gain access to the entire network. Sensitive information – credit cards, bank accounts, social security – are all up for grabs.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself by separating your smart devices from your computer and phone by creating different networks, either by yourself or with the help of a computer technician.
Burglars are constantly trying to find new ways to break in, but they’re also confounded when it comes to wireless home security systems. There’s simply no better way to protect your home and have peace of mind.
Stay tuned! We’re always here to provide you with new tips, trends and information.