We recently searched the FBI’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report and pinpointed six cities with major insecurity issues - of course, plain data never tells the whole story. SimpliSafe Home Security dug up the drama behind the numbers. Read on for tales of tough grannies, Vaseline, wheelbarrow bandits, and more!
- Houston, Texas – 27,459 burglaries Houston, we have 27,459 problems. Space City may be home to airtight shuttle missions, but its on-the-ground operations are still vulnerable to attack. The Houston Police Department’s recent bust of a 100-strong burglary ring called the “Dream Team” promises a slightly starrier future, but Houston residents should stay vigilant. To learn more about houston's crime statistics and find neighborhood crime maps go to our Houston Home Security page.
- Chicago, Illinois – 26,420 burglaries Meet Annette, the 82-year-old woman who turned a key and broke up a Chicago burglary ring. Serial burglars Vinnie and Vinny Miller had their method down pat - they would lure their elderly victims outside and away from their front doors, distract them, and then sneak into their houses. When they tried to pull this on Annette, they were shocked to find that the grandmother of nineteen had thought to lock the door behind her. In their shock, they ran straight into the arms of the police, who happened to be driving by. If more Chicago residents follow Annette's wise example, maybe their city won’t make this list next year.
- Phoenix, Arizona – 18,666 burglaries Not even the desert sun slows down determined thieves. In 2011, Phoenix suffered its first spike in property crime in nearly a decade, largely thanks to burglaries. The police department blames the economy, population changes, and the price of copper, but odds are proper home security would go a long way to balance that out.
- Los Angeles, California – 17,264 burglaries Rising West Coast temperatures leave Angelenos vulnerable to break-ins, especially when they sleep with their windows open (a recent rash of “knock knock” burglars is no joke, either). But the heat also dazes some would-be criminals, like 25-year-old Miguel Luna, who recently burgled an occupied house, woke up the owner, tripped all the security cameras, and left his own car full of stolen goods in the house’s driveway. Needless to say, most victims don’t get off that easy; better to stop a break-in before it even starts by keeping the windows closed. Your house might end up a little warm, but it’s better than it being empty.
- Detroit, Michigan – 15,994 burglaries Most burglars aim to get in and out of a house quickly, but one man from Detroit prefers to take his time. This strange criminal, still at large, hangs out in his victims’ houses for days at a time, showering, sleeping in the master bedroom, helping himself to food and liquor, and treating the whole thing like a vacation. When he’s had his fill, he loads up his wheelbarrow with the house’s valuables and finds the next unoccupied, unsecured home.
- New York, New York – 15,159 burglaries New Yorkers may think they’ve seen everything, but their city’s resident burglars can really get creative. One, still at large, smears petroleum jelly on apartment door peepholes so his targets can’t see him coming. Luckily, NYC police have their own tricks - one local cop busted a burglar gang by friending them on Facebook and using their status updates as clues. Ordinary citizens, like one who recently caught a repeat offender by setting up a makeshift surveillance system, are inventive, too. But if you ask most experts, prevention trumps invention every time.
If your city made the list, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with some basic home security tips. Burglars are everywhere, and clearly they’re out in full force lately!
Here are some tips to prevent a burglar from making your home into a statistic:
- The best proven burglar deterrent out there is a wireless home security system. Burglars won’t even attempt to break into a home with a burglar alarm; it’s too much of a hassle.
- Follow the Chicago grandmother’s example and lock all your doors and windows. A burglar will always check to see if your door is locked; if it’s not, you’re practically doing his job for him.
- Don’t be afraid to be the town crier. If you see something suspicious or anything that just doesn’t look right in your neighborhood, report it. “Burglars spread information through word of mouth,” according to California detective Oliver Cunningham, “and if a neighborhood has a reputation for having nosy neighbors, criminals may choose to avoid it.”