Yes, unfortunately it is known that intruders are more likely to strike twice.
Research into home invasions and burglaries consistently indicates that past victimisation is one of the best predictors of future risk. Although it is difficult to put exact figures on these risks, it is estimated that 50% of homes are targeted at least a second time.
However, as data collection becomes more comprehensive, it is being noticed that repeat victimisation is occurring across communities. This means that the first break-in of your home, could in fact be a repeat victimisation of your neighbourhood.
This phenomenon is known as crime-pockets or hotspots, highlighted in this article on when repeat burglary victimization occurs. This report identifies and correlates risk factors of burglary, particularly repeat victimisation. The idea behind this is that when areas of vulnerability are identified, the reasons for these vulnerabilities can be found and then used to predict and prevent crime in the future.
Queensland Police even have an interactive crime map you can use to check your area!
So why is it that intruders are more likely to return?
It simply comes down to what they know and what they have learnt. Whether they have broken into your home, your neighbour’s home or one down the street, these intruders have learnt a lot about your community, your habits and your home security vulnerabilities.
Essentially, the amount of time they have spent preparing for their first, second, third or even tenth break-in of your home or your neighbourhood should not be underestimated. It is not how we want to think, but intruders are professionals and need to be considered as such. Remember, having gained access to your home once already, is the exact reason why it makes it even easier and more enticing to return.
1. They are familiar with the layout
Knowing the layout of a home will make it much easier and faster for an intruder to return. They know where to go, what to avoid and what to look out for.
2. Homeowners replace expensive items quickly
This is especially true for essential electronics such as computers, laptops and TV’s. A burglar can also reasonably assume you will replace these items almost immediately, oftentimes with a newer, more expensive version, making it even more enticing for the intruder to return.
3. Knowledge of entrance and exit routes
They know how to get in, they know how to get out, they know what they need to do and they know how to do this without getting caught. This will make getting in and out of your home the second time not only easier but also a much lower risk than targeting a home they do not know.
4. Lack of protective measures
When an intruder has successfully gained access to your home the first time, they have already been able to identify home security vulnerabilities to take advantage of. This means they already know how to get around your home security, or that the home security is now even more vulnerable. If cameras had been defaced or locks broken – and these things can take time to replace. This has created an additional vulnerability the intruder knows they can take advantage of.
Even after a home invasion, homeowners will often assume they will not be targeted again. This puts upgrading or even fixing their home security system lower on their list of priorities, making it even easier and more inviting for intruders to return.
5. Valuables left behind and replaced
After gaining entry into your home, an intruder will know where all your valuables are. There may even be items that they were not able to get last time, items that will often entice an intruder back into your home.
The first time an intruder enters your home can also commonly be a trial run of sorts, known as ‘casing’. This is where an intruder will carefully enter your home specifically to find and plan what they wish to come back and steal.
These circumstances make us think of the saying:
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”
Shame on me because it does make sense that intruders would return and shame on me because we can prevent these recurring break-in attacks to break through these cycles of crime.
Following a break-in Davcon recognises these increased vulnerabilities and believes in nothing more strongly than protecting our communities. In fact, we at Davcon want nothing more than to support you through your time of need by placing the security of your home and your family literally first in line.