Home Invaders vs. Traditional Burglars: What is the Difference?


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Home invasion crimes have become prevalent throughout the U.S. in recent years. Most recently, the horrific crime that played out in suburban Washington, D.C. – resulting in the death of a well-to-do family of three and their housekeeper – reminds us that home invasion, as well as burglary, are both serious topics. At Freedom Alarm & Security, we believe people should take both crimes very seriously without falling victim to unnecessary panic or paralyzing fear.

Here’s a discussion of differences between home invaders and traditional burglars. Both kinds of criminals have very different characteristics and modes of operation, so it’s important to understand the risk level so you can take appropriate steps to protect yourself and your family.

The Traditional Burglar

Your standard burglar is a criminal of opportunity looking to steal valuables from a home and quickly sell them for profit. For example, statistics suggest that more than half of burglars commit their crimes in order to support a drug habit.

The last thing burglars want is to be caught. Not only would a burglary conviction land them in jail, but it would also force them to stop using drugs while incarcerated. The burglar wants neither, so they’ll do anything within their power to commit crimes in ways that do not draw attention and do not needlessly increase the chances of being caught. That means:

  • Burglars tend to target homes that they believe are empty.
  • They tend to want to get in and out in less than 10 minutes.
  • They are very careful about committing crimes when there may be other people around.
  • Burglars are hesitant about home security systems – particularly monitored home security.

Most burglaries occur when no one is at home. In terms of overall numbers, it is unusual for a burglar to break into an occupied home or for a homeowner to return home and find a burglar on the property. While burglaries can be dangerous crimes, burglars rarely target people directly; they target property.

The Home Invader

Home invasion is an entirely different kind of crime with different objectives in mind. Rather than looking for a few valuables to sustain a drug habit, home invaders are often after a much bigger prize. For example, home invaders often target wealthier people with a higher net worth (though that’s not to say middle-class families or other citizens can’t be victims of home invaders).

The biggest difference between the home invader and the traditional burglar is that the home invader expects to encounter people inside the home. The home invader also relies on fear and intimidation to get results. This can lead to violent confrontations if invaders do not get what they want quickly.

Monitored home security is a good first step in protecting yourself against both burglary and home invasion. A security system lets potential criminals know their activities are being watched at every step, thereby acting as a deterrent to crime. For more information about monitored home security, contact Freedom Alarm & Security today.


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