Will the Burglars Return?

Before we answer the question the title poses, let’s look at the terms robbery, burglary, and theft.

Robbery is when someone takes something from another person by force (i.e., a gun, knife, or other threat).


Burglaries are crimes of breaking and entering into a building with the intent to commit a theft. The victim does not have to be present.


Theft is when items that belong to you are taken from your home, business, storage facility, or other structure.


Now that our vocabulary lesson is over, let’s answer the question posed in the title of this article:  If you are the victim of a burglary, will they return?


Unfortunately, once you have been burglarized, there is a good possibility that it will happen again. The police and victims of these crimes have found that it is not uncommon.


Reasons for a repeat burglary can include the following:


  • They know there are additional items of value in a home and view it as an easy target if they cannot see any obvious improvements in the security of the home.
  • Some are a “trial run” where they grab what they can quickly, but the intent is to learn the layout of the floor plan, what type of security system is in place, and how long it takes for the police to respond.
  • They often return within six weeks of the first burglary; by then most or all of the items have been replaced and the burglars know exactly where everything is.
  • Sometimes they return just a few days later, assuming that no new security has yet been installed, and they now get what they want – and get it quickly.
  • On their first burglary, they take a quick inventory of what you own, only taking a few easy-to-sell items. Then once they have a buyer, they return to steal a particular item or items.
  • If you have other buildings (a storage shed or detached garage), they return to “finish the job.”


Having an inventory of your belongings will benefit you in many ways:


  • You will be able to remember everything that you owned that is now gone.
  • You will be able to prove ownership (itemized lists should include manufacturer, serial numbers, and model numbers) in case the police recover your belongings.
  • You will be able to prove value if there are questions from the insurance adjuster.
  • You will be able to complete your claims process faster.
  • The home or business inventory will help you receive a more equitable insurance settlement.
  • Even if you never experience a loss, this document will give you years of peace of mind.


Evaluate your security, and make any improvements that would be helpful. If you don’t have an inventory of your home or business personal property, possibly now you have the information you need to make that decision.