Homeowners’ Habits Make it Easy for Thieves to Rob Homes: Nationwide Survey

July 24, 2013

As many Americans enjoy summer vacations, day trips and barbeques, some will unfortunately return home to find they have been burglarized. According to Nationwide Insurance claims data and FBI statistics, home theft occurs more in June, July and August than any other months of the year.

A recent survey commissioned by Nationwide survey reveals that, while a majority of homeowners (79 percent) have at least one common theft-prevention measure (e.g., alarm system, deadbolt), three in 10 (30 percent) do not use any, potentially putting their loved ones and belongings at unnecessary risk during a heightened burglary season.

“At Nationwide, we’re committed to protecting our members and what is most important to them,” explains Pete Lore, associate vice president of property technical claims at Nationwide. “We conducted this survey to identify common behaviors that could expose home and personal property to thieves. What we found was that homeowners can, and should, do more to protect their belongings.”

The Harris Interactive survey of 1,005 Americans with a homeowners or condo insurance policy shows that common misconceptions about theft can cause people to create unnecessary risks, leaving homes and belongings more vulnerable to burglars.

Homeowners Admit Risky Behaviors
  • One-quarter of homeowners (25 percent) acknowledge leaving the front door of their home unlocked when leaving the house at least once in the past year.
  • Four in 10 (41 percent) 18-34 year-old homeowners surveyed post social media photos/updates when they are on vacation.
  • While the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association estimates nearly one-third of all burglars enter through the front door, just 15 percent of homeowners in Nationwide’s survey correctly believe it’s the most common entry point.
  • 39 percent of homeowners admit leaving leave their doors unlocked about the same amount or more often as their parents did when they were growing up, despite a dramatic rise in thefts over the last 40 years.
  • Many homeowners tend to leave ground floor (35 percent) or second story and above (34 percent) windows unlocked.
  • 20 percent of homeowners with an alarm system don’t activate it during the day, even though that’s when most thefts occur.
  • Three in 10 (30 percent) homeowners hide a spare key outside their home.

“Preventive measures only work if you use them. We want to ensure homeowners recognize the importance of taking those few extra steps to keep themselves, their families and their belongings safe,” adds Lore.

Source: Nationwide Insurance

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