Home break-ins down as much as 50% in St. Louis County during stay-at-home orders

Occupied homes make unpopular targets for criminals

Brian Kelly
May 27, 2020 - 4:38 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - While there's been no shortage of violent crime during the coronavirus pandemic, one type of crime has gone down since mid-March; home burglaries.

From March through mid-May, residential break-ins were down 35 percent year-over-year in St. Louis City and County and St. Charles County. Over the first half of May, they were down 53 percent in St. Louis County. 

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University of Missouri-St. Louis Criminologist Rick Rosenfeld says it makes sense because like most street crimes, home burglaries are crimes of opportunity.

"In the case of residential burglaries, when people are at home, those targets become less desirable from the point of view of the burglar," Rosenfeld says. "Therefore, the opportunities for burglaries drop and burglaries themselves drop."

Now that more people are going back to work Rosenfeld expects home burglaries to increase. "As we gradually return to normal, many people who are currently at home will be back at work during the day, and in some cases during the evening. Everything else equal, we should expect burglaries to go back up."

He suggests to you take steps to make it look like someone is home, even when they're not. "Keeping lights on, is the time-honored recommendation, a very good one. Keeping a radio on, or even a television on, so it appears the home is occupied is another good idea." 

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