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1 in 5 American homes have been burglarized -- are you at risk?

Byline: Danielle Ling,

Home invasions can cost homeowners more than just their valuables, but their piece of mind and sense of security, too.

And according to a new report, experiencing such a traumatic event is much more likely than many may think.

The newly released 2017 home security report found that 63% of American homes are at high risk of burglary.

Related: Here's the new high-tech way to catch a burglar

The data scientists at surveyed 1,000 Americans about how they protect their homes when they're away, and also found that 16% of Americans say they've experienced a burglary. These victims identified the factors they say they believe contributed to or caused their home invasion.

Related: 12 home theft prevention tips for traveling homeowners

Here are the top five factors putting American homes at risk:

(Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 5: Living in an apartment building

Of the 16% of Americans who say they have experienced a burglary, 7% say living in an apartment building put them at greater risk. Apartments can be more accessible targets for thieves for a few reasons, mainly due to easier access.

Related: 5 reasons why renters need insurance

Fire escapes or sliding side doors can provide thieves with easy entry if not secured properly. There's also an anonymity factor, where burglars could potentially walk through an apartment complex appearing to others as a resident. The significantly smaller size of an apartment compared to a home also makes it easier for thieves to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time.

In addition, renters experience a burglary at nearly double the rate of homeowners, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 4: An open window

Eight percent (8%) of burglary victims say an open window was the cause of their attack.'s home security report found that 60% of Americans leave their windows open when they're away, putting the majority at risk. Of that 60%, approximately 15% say they simply forget to close their windows, and another 15% say they leave their windows open in warmer weather.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 3: An unlocked door

Forty-two percent (42%) of Americans say they leave their doors unlocked when they are away from home. Some say they plan to return quickly (14%), and others say they just forgot (12%). As the number three factor, 14% of burglary victims attribute their robbery to an unlocked door. Supporting this claim, data collected from a 2012 FBI Crime Report says 34% of burglars enter through the front door.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 2: No home security system

As the number two factor, 16% of burglary victims say not having a security system put them at risk. According to, only 37% of Americans own a security system, putting 6 in 10 U.S. homes at risk. According to the FBI, homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.

As an incentive, some insurance agencies offer discounts up to 20% on homes with a security system installed.

Related: 6 home safety and tech devices for 2017

(Photo: Shutterstock)

No. 1: Neighborhood or surroundings

Nearly 24% of Americans burglarized say their neighborhood or surroundings put them at greater risk. Besides taking basic safety precautions like locking doors and windows, there are other ways to make your home less of a target.

Experts suggest adding more lights in and around your property to deter burglars. Keeping the lights on inside will make it harder to tell if anyone is home, and more exterior lights will make it easier for would-be thieves to be seen.

Related: 5 strategies to reduce property vandalism
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Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Property and Casualty 360
Date:Oct 9, 2017
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