Burglary and Home Invasion in Ohio—An Important Lesson for Homeowners
Every year tens of thousands of Ohio residents fall victim to burglary and home invasion. As a current or prospective homeowner, how much do you know about these crimes?
According to the FBI, home break-ins such as burglary and home invasion are the leading threat to homeowners. In today's post, I'll provide some insight into these two crimes, and the home security measures you can take to reduce your risk.
Burglary and Home Invasion Defined
In Ohio, burglary is generally defined as illegal entry into an unoccupied structure such as a home, a garage, or a building with the intent to commit a crime. The intruder does not actually have to carry out the intended crime to be arrested and convicted of a burglary; he only needs to enter the premises with the intent to do something illegal. If the perpetrator enters a home when someone is home, as is the case with home invasions, the offense is much more serious.
While there is no specific law that specifies or defines the term 'home invasion' as a crime in itself, it is still a crime. In Ohio this type of crime is called a burglary of a habitation with a person present. In this case, a habitation is any dwelling—a home, an apartment, an RV, even a tent— that a person resides in on a temporary or permanent basis.
When a burglary or home invasion involves a weapon or any form of physical or threatened harm toward any person not involved in the crime, the crime is charged as an aggravated burglary—a first-degree felony that carries the most serious of penalties.
According to the FBI's report Crime in the United States 2013, of the 338,731 property crimes reported, approximately 91,400 were burglary-related crimes. There are years when these numbers are as much as 13% higher.
How Burglars and Home Invasion Criminals Differ
Burglars and home invasion criminals are not cut from the same cloth. Whereas burglars look to break into residences when no one is home, home invasion criminals intentionally seek out victims to use as pawns during their crimes. Intruders that prefer the home invasion approach are typically more brazen individuals with a propensity toward violence.
An example of the violent and heartless nature of today's home invasion criminals can be seen in a recent NBC4 news report out of Newark, Ohio. When the police arrived at the scene of an apparent home invasion, they found the homeowner lying on the ground outside his home. According to the report, the homeowner had been badly beaten and tied up inside his residence for several hours before he was able to free himself. His injuries were severe.
Home Security Tips
There is no surefire way to prevent a criminal from targeting your home. However, there are certain home security measures you can take to reduce your risk and even prevent an intruder from gaining entry into your residence. The following are a few of the most important ones that every homeowner should have in place:
- Keep your doors and windows locked at all times—even when you're home.
- Reinforce your entry doors with a security door brace.
- Install window protection film on the glass panes of vulnerable windows.
- Keep your curtains and/or blinds closed at night and when you are not home.
- Invest in a home security alarm and/or surveillance system.
- NEVER answer the door to a stranger—no matter how official or innocent he or she looks!
For more information on burglary and home invasions and how to protect against these crimes, read What Residents Should Know About Criminals Who Commit Burglary and Home Invasions.
Jordan Frankel - The Security Sensei
"For all things security related and outsmarting the proverbial bad guys."
Global Security Experts, Inc.