What do you think of when you picture a burglar? A masked man, wearing a black and white striped jumper, lurking around in the shadows carrying a brown sack with a dollar sign on it for some reason?
For those of us that have never encountered a burglar (and have maybe played too many games of The Sims) this may well be what first comes to mind. But what’s the reality? What kind of person is most likely to break into your house?
We took a look at official crime statistics to unmask the profile of an average burglar in England & Wales, looking at their age, gender, race, whether they were known to the victim and whether they worked alone or with accomplices.
Relationship to victim
What’s the average burglar like?
From our research we know that the average burglar is most likely to be:
- Between the ages of 25 and 39
- Unknown to the victim
- Working alone
This information may not seem too surprising. However, if we take a deeper look into the statistics, we find some unexpected items.
Almost as many victims know the offender than don’t
What better way to target burglaries than by getting to know the victim? Burglars are opportunists, which means they strike when they find a worthwhile target. By getting to know a victim first burglars can ascertain all sorts of information, such as what they have that’s worth stealing, when their home is unoccupied and what security measures they have.
A professional thief will be able to get all kinds of info out of someone simply from a passing conversation. That’s why it’s important not to disclose personal information to anyone that you don’t 100% trust.
4% of burglaries are committed by children under the age of 16
Running out a corner shop with a handful of pick & mix is one thing, but actually burgling a house at such a young age is another entirely.
The problem with child burglars is so bad in Leeds that in 2010 the local council had to set up a scheme that works with young burglars to keep them out of prison and to stop them from re-offending.
Females are involved in over 1 in 10 burglaries
Whether acting alone or as part of a team that included men, women were involved in 13% of burglary offences charged between March 2015 and April 2016.
It’s true that burglary remains a primarily male offence, but don’t overlook the capacity of women to commit the crime too.
No race is more prone to being a burglar than others
Despite public hearsay in some parts of England & Wales, no one race is more likely to commit a burglary than another.
The chart above makes it look like white people are much much more likely to be burglars. However, this high rate is simply in line with the fact there are more white people in England & Wales, meaning it’s more likely a burglar caught in this country will be white.
The proportion of burglars from other races is also more or less in line with the proportion of that race in the population.