According to Dan Ribacoff, a break in is defined as: When one or more persons illegally forces entry into a home or private property, usually to cause harm to others or to engage in further illegal activity. Most break in attempts are targeted, meaning that an intruder normally doesn’t just break into a random home or place of business. There is almost always a motive for their actions. During my 30 years of being a private investigator, I’ve seen and solved numerous break in cases that occurred for many different reasons:
When you think of an intruder breaking into a home or place of business, you immediately think of burglary and you should. It’s very common (A burglary occurs in the United States every 26 seconds). Most home/business break in cases involve the attempted theft of physical items or even electronic information stored on a computer. On average, these burglaries end up costing victims roughly $2800. Luckily, in the past 10 years, the amount of burglaries in the United States have drastically decreased, most likely due to the increase in burglary preventative technology, such as home security products like Ring.
More often than not, the intruder actually knows the victim who’s home or business they are breaking into. Most of the time, they are doing it to get back at a person who they feel wronged them in some way. I’ve seen it a lot with crazy ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends who’s relationship ended badly. In their deranged minds, these people feel that breaking into the other person’s home or business will make them even for whatever it is they believe was wrongfully done to them. If you are the victim of a break in and want to find out who did it, the first thing you should ask yourself is “Who would have a motive to hurt me/my family/my business?”.
If their intentions are to harm others, arsonists may break in to a home or building to cause a fire, as fires intentionally set from within a structure are much more dangerous and difficult to put out than fires set from the exterior. The most common places in a home or building where an arsonist may start a fire are in trashcans or anywhere where they can have access to flammable chemicals, such as a janitor’s closet or a laundry room. That’s why it’s important to install and maintain smoke detectors in these areas where a fire could easily be caused.
While it’s not incredibly common for a break in to result in an abduction or kidnapping, it does still happen and should be taken very seriously. Most commonly, a break in for kidnapping is actually done by a non-custodial parent who wants to take his/her child away from the other parent who was legally given custody. With those cases, it’s very easy to track down the intruder/kidnapper. Only a fraction of a percent of these abduction/kidnapping cases are similar to what you see or hear about in TV and movies like Taken or All the Money in the World.
5. Planting Electronic Bugs/Spy Equipment
Some people will break in to homes or buildings to spy on others to gather evidence. They’ve watched too many James Bond movies and don’t even think twice about illegally entering somewhere in order to “complete their objective”. As a licensed private investigator, I’ve planted plenty of electronic bugs and spy equipment in my day (See How to do Your Own Electronic Surveillance). There are plenty of completely legal and effective methods of electronically spying on people, but breaking in to do it is definitely not one of them. It’s a job best left to the professionals.
6. Needing a Place to Stay
This reason is sad, but unfortunately not everyone has a place to stay every night. You’ll see these cases increase in colder months, so make sure to keep your house or place of business secure during the winter months if you don’t want to wake up to a complete stranger snoozing on the couch in your living room or lobby area (You have no idea how many people break into office buildings just because of how warm and cozy their lobby looks).
In order to stay protected from a break-in there are a few precautions you can take that will make an intruder think twice about illegally entering your home or business. The first would be to install motion detection cameras around the perimeter of your home or building (Bonus points if they have automatic lights that turn on when they detect motion). It’s also a good idea to install locks and alarms in all of your windows, doors, and other possible places of entry. Make sure that they ring and automatically alert the authorities when triggered. If an invader sees that they’re being captured on camera or hears an alarm going off, I’ll bet that they won’t stick around much longer.