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Stay Safe Out There

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The editors at Top Criminal Justice Schools decided to research the topic of:

Stay Safe Out There

Millions of Americans are victims of crime every year. While overall crime rates are dropping, having your home or personal space violated is always traumatic, and some crimes can be quite costly. What do these crimes look like, and what steps can you take to keep yourself and your property safe?


3.4 million

- Annual home burglaries in the U.S.


- Drop in rate between 1994 and 2011


- Average dollar loss among households that reported losses

10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

- Most likely time for a home to be burglarized

8-12 minutes

- Average time a burglar is inside a victim's home

What's taken:

1 in 3 burglaries involved the theft of household electronics. Here's a look at the objects most likely to be stolen:
- Cash/checks, credit/bank cards, purses/wallets 16.9%
- Motor vehicles 1.4%
- Motor vehicle parts/accessories, gasoline/oil 4.5%
- Bicycles or parts, toys, recreation/sport equipment 8.7%
- Household appliances/portable electronics 34.4%
- Household furnishings/collections 6.3%
- Personal portable objects 31.1%
- Firearms 2.9%
- Tools/miscellaneous equipment 16.2%
- Farm/garden produce, food/liquor 4.5%
- Animals 0.1%

How burglars get in:

- 81% first floor
- 34% front door
- 23% first-floor window
- 22% back door
- 9% garage
- 4% basement
- 4% unlocked entrance
- 2% storage area
- 2% second floor

Safety tips:

- Keep exterior doors free of rot, cracks and warping.
- Use deadbolts on all exterior doors.
- Avoid keeping a spare key outside.
- Make sure pet doors are as far away from the door lock as possible.
- Ensure lights are installed on the exterior of all sides of the house.
- Leave some lights on when you're away.
- Maintain sightlines of entrances by keeping shrubs and trees trimmed.
- Build a fence.
- Cut the lawn regularly.
- Buy a dog or a "Beware of Dog" sign.



- Annual robberies and personal thefts


- Robberies by strangers


- Robberies that involved a gun

Nearly 7 in 10

- Robberies reported to police

Safety tips:

- Walk in groups whenever you can.
- Avoid alleys, vacant lots and other secluded areas.
- Walk on the sidewalk, avoiding doorways, bushes and other potential hiding places.
- Walk at a steady pace and don't stop to talk to strangers.
- Don't burden yourself with too many packages or items.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you're wearing headphones, don't turn them up so high you can't hear outside noises.



- Vehicles reported stolen each year


car is stolen every




- Average value of stolen vehicles


- Auto thefts that involve carjacking

1 in 3

- Drivers who admit to leaving their car running


- Drivers who don't hide their valuables


- Motorists who have left a purse or wallet visible

1 in 3

- Drivers who have left bank statements in their vehicles

Safety tips:

- Never leave the keys in the ignition when you're away from your vehicle.
- Look around and inside before getting in your car.
- Roll up the windows and lock the car, even in front of your own home.
- Don't leave valuables in plain view.
- Remove GPS devices and smartphones.
- Park in busy, well-lit areas.
- When leaving your car for a valet or repair service, give them only your ignition key.
- Have your keys ready before you reach your car.