In the United States, burglars generally try to break into homes that are unoccupied. We tend to take this fact for granted, but it isn’t true everywhere. There are advantages to breaking into residences when the owners are home: you can force them to tell you where valuables and drugs are kept, rather than having to search. And if a woman is present you may choose to assault her. This is why, in countries where gun ownership is rare, invasions of occupied homes are much more common.
Last week the Telegraph reported: “Half of burglaries on occupied homes as thieves grow bolder.”
Half of burglaries in Britain now take place while householders are inside their homes, as thieves become emboldened by police inaction.
Figures show 58 percent of burglaries happen at occupied properties, as campaigners said criminals no longer feared being caught in the act.
Analysis of the most recent Office for National Statistics crime figures shows the proportion of burglaries targeting properties when someone is at home has soared in recent years. The Crime Survey for England and Wales found such incidents made up 44 percent of raids in 2004-2005, but have since shot up to 58 percent in 2016-2017.
How do the numbers compare in the United States? It is surprisingly hard to find up to date data; this 2010 report by the Department of Justice doesn’t seem to have been superseded. The DOJ report found that the household was occupied in 28 percent of residential burglaries. In 26 percent of burglaries where someone was present, one or more individuals were physically harmed by the burglar or burglars.
So burglars are around twice as likely to invade occupied residences in the U.K. than in the United States. Why is that? Certainly not because the American police are any more likely to interrupt a burglary in process. The obvious answer is that hardly any homeowners in the U.K. possess firearms, while gun ownership is common in the U.S. Bluntly put, a burglar who invades an occupied residence in the United States takes a not-immaterial risk that he may be shot by his intended victim. As, for example, here, here, here and here.
The conclusion: if gun-grabbers get their way and the Second Amendment is effectively nullified, many more Americans will be terrorized by home invasions; more will be injured or killed; and more women will be raped.
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