10 Facts About Burglars, Break-ins, and Home Security

For most people, home is a place of security and protection. We want to feel safe, relax, and unwind. Solid walls, windows, doors, and fences are meant to shield us and our belongings, allowing us to live fearlessly and peacefully. However, even in the most idyllic neighborhoods and seemingly safest surroundings, break-ins pose a daily, real threat. It's impossible to protect yourself 100% from a break-in.

But the more you know about break-in risks, perpetrators' tactics, and preventive measures, the better you can guard and defend yourself.

Here's an overview of 10 crucial facts about burglary and safety.

1. Break-ins Are On The Rise Again

After years of decline, break-ins surged by a significant 14.6% last year, reaching levels similar to those before the pandemic.
Every day, about 96 burglaries and thefts were reported in Switzerland, totaling a staggering 35,732 cases annually!
Valuables like cash, jewelry, art, electronics, and credit cards are the primary targets. Thefts of e-bikes also soared by a whopping 58%. Contrary to popular belief, bikes aren't just stolen in dark underpasses but by well-organized gangs from unsecured storage rooms and garages.

2. Recovering Stolen Items Is Unlikely

Sadly, only 20% of break-ins are solved. Even when the suspects are caught, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get your stolen goods back. Often, valuables have already been resold, and personal items that have no financial value but are irreplaceable to you may have been discarded. Photographs and detailed lists of valuables can help you recover them.


3. Who Are The Typical Burglars?

Cloaked in dark attire, male, masked in black, equipped with a crowbar.

The image of a masked man with a crowbar doesn't reflect reality. In fact, burglars can resemble anyone in your neighborhood, regardless of age or gender. The truth is, burglars often look like the friendly neighbor or the kind doctor. Specialized burglary gangs often spot and exploit vulnerabilities swiftly. Some thieves even disguise themselves as couriers, using uniforms of renowned companies and their tools or products, deceiving even the most vigilant residents.

An inconspicuous delivery person in a neighborhood

4. Burglars Prefer Daylight

Though the night provides the cover of darkness, burglars find the evening hours between 4 pm and 8 pm most alluring. During these times, many residents aren't home, and distractions abound on the streets.
Each season presents its advantages and challenges for thieves.
Winter, at first glance, seems appealing due to the darkness, which offers concealment, and dark windows suggest the residents' absence. Conversely, summer presents an invitation with open windows and patio doors.
Companies are targeted year-round, while private residences experience an increase in break-ins during the winter months.

5. A Break-in Takes Just Minutes

A brief lapse in attention is all it takes. Even if doors and windows are shut, burglars can gain access swiftly. Proper burglary protection is crucial.
Windows should be fully closed, and doors locked when leaving home.
Still, a break-in remains possible. Standard windows and doors guard against the elements, not unwanted guests. With just a large screwdriver or a crowbar, burglars need mere seconds, not minutes, to pry open standard windows or simple doors. Protective measures for doors and windows are discussed further in our specialized guide on securing doors and windows.

6. There Are No “Safe” Residential Areas

City or countryside, apartment buildings, or single-family homes – no place is immune to break-ins. Sometimes, supposedly safe neighborhoods are especially tempting for thieves. Suspicious activities in areas predominantly populated by single-family homes are more noticeable and reported to the police than those in busy city centers. However, in many residential areas, houses are often vacant during the day, granting burglars unimpeded access.
Thieves scout surroundings. Homes that appear uninhabited are attractive targets, as are overflowing mailboxes or parcels left at the door for days. Similarly, homes with a lot of privacy or the anonymity of apartment buildings and housing estates are equally enticing.

Break-in daylight over residential area

7. “There's Nothing To Steal Here” – A Misconception

You might think your home isn't worth breaking into, but that perception won't deter thieves. They'll only know for sure after they've broken in.
If a burglar finds nothing of value, the incurred damage and psychological impact remain significant. The invasion of privacy due to a stranger entering your home can have profound effects on the psyche of the victims.

8.Common Hiding Places Are Often Known

Popular hiding spots include cookie tins, books, vases, nightstands, and laundry baskets. Experienced thieves are familiar with these 'good' hiding spots.
There are additional risks for well-hidden valuables – they might get accidentally discarded during extensive cleaning or moving. In the event of a fire, any money stashed in a cereal box is surely lost.

9. The Psychological Consequences of a Break-In

The consequences of a break-in should not be underestimated.

The administrative effort alone is significant. The police must inspect the scene, which means once again strangers invade your privacy. The break-in must be reported to the insurance company, forms filled out, the extent of damage determined, questions answered, and claims clarified. As quickly as possible, you need to repair or replace broken windows or doors and damaged locks, which can be associated with high costs.

A break-in also leaves its mark on the victims.

Their own home no longer feels like a safe place. Besides anger, grief, and frustration, many victims suffer from psychological stress disorders such as stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, headaches, tension, and some even consider moving.

The Psychological Consequences of a Break-In

10. Investing in Burglary Protection

With just a few simple measures, you can increase the protection of your home. Read our 5 tips for effective burglary protection here.
However, if your safety and that of your loved ones is important to you, protecting your home requires more than just closed windows and locked doors.
For properties and apartments with alarm systems, the damage caused by break-ins is, according to insurance statistics, about 90% lower.
For Securitas Direct, your safety is the top priority; we tailor every security concept to individual needs.
Even our stickers have a deterrent effect, driving many thieves away.
If a burglar does break in, flashlights, cameras, and sirens respond immediately. Within seconds, the alarm reaches Securitas Direct, the photos are analyzed, and the police are immediately dispatched to the scene. In close cooperation with the police, a staff member is always on-site. They create the intervention report, reactivate the alarm system, and represent your interests if you are absent. They also handle urgent repair work.

A smart alarm system from Securitas Direct always protects!

Protect yourself in the best possible way.

Securitas Direct ensures an all-around good feeling, even when no one is at home.

Benefit from many valuable insights with our free initial consultation.

We are offering you a free Online Security Check as a first step in checking just how secure your home is.
For a no-obligation offer or a free consultation, simply click on the relevant option below.
You may also reach us on 0800 808 590 for a free phone consultation.


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