Just under 8 percent of Americans say property crime is a big problem where they live, but about 74 percent say it’s at least something of a worry, according to a survey.
A new report from safehome.org, a research based website focused on home security and safety in America, found that, since 2006, more than 120 million property crimes were reported to police agencies all over the U.S. While population-adjusted rates of these crimes have fallen in recent years, property crimes impacted approximately one in five households in 2020, resulting in nearly $13 billion worth of damage or loss from burglaries and other types of theft in 2019 alone.
Preliminary data from the FBI for 2020 indicates that property crime declined during the first six months of the year when compared with 2019. This contrasts with reports that package theft has increased, and with the agency’s findings that homicides and aggravated assaults have risen. Given that only six months’ worth of data have been reported, it’s too early to say how the pandemic has impacted crime rates.
About 37 percent of people have improved the lighting around their property to beef up security, while 30 percent limit social media posts and another 30 percent have put in doorbell cameras. Among those who have experienced property crime, about 46 percent had packages or deliveries stolen or damaged, while about 43 percent said the crime affected their vehicle.
There are a few notable differences between women and men when it comes to the measures they take to protect themselves and their property. For example, women were about 10 percentage points more likely to say one of their security measures was limiting social media posts about where they live or if they’re not currently at home.
On the other hand, men were more likely to have security cameras, home security systems, and signage. Both groups were about equally likely to report having a gun as part of their security measures.
About three-quarters of property crime victims in our survey filed a police report, but for those who didn’t, the chances of recovering their items or equivalent value was much lower. More than half of property crime victims didn’t recover their items, but for those who didn’t file a police report, that number rose to about 71 percent. Notifying the police about an incident wasn’t associated with a huge jump in people getting their items or money back, but involving the police did result in the majority of respondents recovering their stolen or damaged items or being compensated with their equivalent value.
Isidoro Rodriguez is a TCR staff writer.