Getting Tough on Crime
The good news: In the United States, rates for most crimes have fallen in recent years. Property theft, however, is still going strong, with more than 7 million cases that cost an estimated $16.4 billion in 2018 alone. While numbers haven’t yet been released for 2019, we’ve tracked down the crime trends you should watch and safety precautions you can put into effect in 2020.
Larceny Is #1
Larceny refers specifically to any theft of personal property without the use of force. According to USA Today, larceny accounted for 71.7 percent of total property crimes in 2017. High tourism rates, income inequality, and poverty are all correlated with larceny in American cities.
Burglary Is #2
Burglary—breaking and entering a property with the intent to commit a crime—accounted for 18.2 percent of property crimes in 2017. This number has dropped 11.9 percent in the last year, according to the FBI, but you still need to be extra cautious, especially when you’ll be away from home.
Most Home Burglaries Happen During the Day
It is a misconception that most home burglaries happen at night. In fact, your home is at greatest risk between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when people are likely to be out and about. Theft peaks in the summer months, when more people are away on vacation.
Watch Your Vehicle
Coming in at third place, after larceny and burglary, is motor vehicle theft, which constitutes about 10 percent of American property crime. Auto theft saw a 3 percent decline in 2018, but that doesn’t mean you should let down your guard.
Don’t Rely on Just Your Car Alarm
A car is stolen in the United States about every minute. While taking simple precautions can help, such as parking in a safe, well-lighted area and keeping valuables out of sight, technology can also be a valuable ally. Digital Trends reports on five of the best anti-theft devices, including a kill switch for your car that can frustrate a thief and send him off in search of easier prey.
Violence Can Hit Home
Sadly, every violent act that happens on the streets happens at home too. The Bureau of Justice reports that roughly a third of violent crimes are committed near a person’s home. The good news is, violent crime is trending down, with the exception of rape, which increased nearly 3 percent in 2018.
Common Sense Is Your Best Protection
In your quest to keep your home safe, the best precautions are also the simplest. Always lock doors and secure windows, and install simple alarms and motion-sensing lights, which are great deterrents.
Stop Hiding Keys
Invest in Home Security
Crime tends to be lower in neighborhoods where people know each other well enough to recognize suspicious interlopers and dodgy behavior. Become part of your community. Get to know your neighbors, ask them to keep an eye out for your property when you’re away from home, and offer to do the same for them.
Money-saving, time-saving—and yes, sometimes even life-saving—the latest and greatest smart home technologies span from self-programming thermostats to voice-activated TV controls to video doorbells and beyond. Raise your home's IQ!