One-Third Fail to Activate Theft Prevention Measures on Their Homes

July 24, 2013

Almost of a third of American homeowners who have anti-theft devices on their homes don’t use them — even during the summer when burglars are at their busiest.

A survey commissioned by Nationwide Insurance found that, while a majority of homeowners (79 percent) have at least one common theft-prevention measure such as an alarm system, or deadbolt, three in 10 do not use any, inviting unnecessary risk especially during a heightened burglary season.

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. The FBI estimates that Americans were the victims of about 2.19 million burglaries in 2011, an increase of about 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

Twenty percent of those with alarm systems fail to activate them during the day, when most thefts occur, One quarter said they left their front doors unlocked when leaving the house at least once in the past year. More than one-third said they leave ground-floor windows unlocked.

Forty-one percent of those ages 18 to 34 said they post social media photos or updates when they’re on vacation, letting the world know they are not at home.

Nationwide said it conducted this survey to identify common behaviors that could expose home and personal property to thieves.

Other common risky behaviors identified by the survey:

  • Thiry-nine 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
  • Three in 10 (30 percent) homeowners hide a spare key outside their home.

The Harris Interactive survey was taken of 1,005 Americans with a homeowners or condo insurance policy.

“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,” said Pete Lore, associate vice president of property technical claims at Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide.

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