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Home Security Survey: Who Leaves Their Doors Unlocked, and When?

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Person's hand holding a set of house keys in front of a door.

It seems like a home security no-brainer: keep your doors locked. But there can be some gray areas. Lock them at night? What about during the day? Some may even question if locking their doors even makes a difference.

No one wants to think that break-ins can happen to them. Unfortunately, according to FBI statistics, a burglary happens about every 30 seconds in the United States. Which means it’s very possible that you could experience one.

The act of locking or unlocking a door can seem trivial, but it has a significant impact on the safety of your home and everyone inside. In this article, we’ll look at the facts about when and how criminals break into homes. We’ll also look at people’s habits regarding locking or unlocking their front doors.

Row houses with front doors unlocked.

Criminal Habits

First things first: the numbers. A surprising 34% of burglars get into homes right through the front door, the National Crime Prevention Council reports. Criminals don’t want to get caught, so they keep their visits as short as possible. The FBI reports that house break-ins last on average less than 10 minutes. So criminals are looking for an easy score. An unlocked front door means quick access to get in and get out before anyone even realizes what’s happened.

With that statistic alone, it’s clear that locking your doors is important. Simply locking your door can be a primary deterrent to potential intruders, as it makes it more difficult for burglars to gain entry. Even the small act of locking your door could discourage a criminal from attempting a break-in—they may just head to the next open door.

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Insurance Discount

Did you know that many insurance companies offer reduced premiums to homeowners who have taken security measures such as installing deadbolts or alarm systems? Discounts can vary, so be sure to check with your insurance provider, or shop around and find out what different companies offer.

While you’re considering that cost savings, think about this: Why would insurance companies even offer a discount on door locks? Because their job is statistics. They look at all the numbers. And the numbers behind locking your doors is clear: if you lock your doors, you’re less likely to have a break-in, which means fewer home insurance claims for lost property or damage to the home. Yet another reason to get good locks and use them.

Do you feel comfortable leaving your doors unlocked at night? Survey responses.

Homeowner Safety Habits

Recently, Cove conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. residents to find out people’s experiences, habits, and perceptions of home security and safety. With regards to locking or unlocking front doors, the results were interesting.

Above are some of the findings from Cove’s 2023 Home Security Trends Report.

In the results above, we can see that overall, only a small number of people feel comfortable keeping their doors unlocked at night. This could be for many reasons—perhaps they live in a safe area, or live far away from others, etc.

When combining “Definitely” with “Probably,” the percentage jumps up to 26% of people being okay leaving their doors unlocked at night. This seems like a fairly large number, especially when considering the facts about criminal behavior and how often burglars gain access through an unlocked door.

It’s also interesting to note that twice as many males as females generally feel fine leaving their doors unlocked at night. Also on Cove’s 2023 Home Security Trends Report, 38% of men believed they could take on an intruder, while only 14% of women believed they could.

Do you feel comfortable leaving your doors unlocked during the day? Survey responses.

Switching the question to daylight hours, it’s interesting to note which numbers changed and which stayed the same.

Only comparing the “Definitely Not” numbers between leaving doors unlocked at night vs day, at night over 54% of people were not comfortable, but during the day only 33% were not comfortable. It’s an interesting perception, because criminal behavior says otherwise.

When we imagine a criminal breaking in, we tend to think they are wearing all black and lurk around in the dark of night. But the truth is, more burglaries happen during the day. In 2021, 196,684 of all reported residential burglaries occurred in the daytime compared to 154,723 at night, according to the FBI. This means residents should be just as vigilant at home security during daylight hours–if not more so–than they are at night.

While some criminals use the dark hours of night to hide, they know that less people are home during the day, and therefore, their homes are an easier target for a quick break-in.

(About Cove’s 2023 Home Security Trends Report: Data was collected in August 2023 by TrendCandy, an independent market research firm, through a survey of 1,000 U.S. residents ages 18 and up.)

Break-In Hindsight

In a separate survey in 2019, Cove asked 993 people who had experienced a break-in: if they could go back in time, what would they do? Of those surveyed, 26% said they would make sure all windows and doors were locked, as some of the intruders came through an unlocked door.

However, the biggest response was not at all alarming. Of those surveyed, 58% wished they would have had a home security system installed, likely preventing the break-in regardless of how the intruder sought to get inside.

RELATED: Break-In Hindsight: Exploring People’s Reaction to Home Burglaries

When it comes to protecting your home and everything and everyone inside, there is plenty you can do. One of the simplest things you can do is to keep your doors locked, whether it’s day or night. If your deadbolt or door lock is older, replace it. Never give burglars an opportunity to choose to break into your home.

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Install a Cove Home Security System

One of the most important things you can do to keep your home secure is to install a Cove home security system. Our high customer-rated system is one of the best values on the market. We don’t require contracts or have pushy salespeople, and installation is meant for easy DIY. Simply follow the step-by-step instructions on the touchscreen alarm panel and you’re good to go.

Cove offers outdoor cameras, indoor cameras, a doorbell camera, door sensors, window sensors, window break sensors, water leak detectors, smoke detectors, and more! Plus, our 24/7 professional monitoring costs less than $1 per day. Take our quiz to customize the perfect system for your home.

With a Cove system and 24/7 professional monitoring, you know you’ll be protected whether you are home or away. If any threat is detected, you can instantly verify if it’s a false alarm or not. Or if you don’t respond, emergency personnel will be dispatched—up to 4 minutes faster than with other companies. With Cove watching over your house or apartment, you can rest easy whether you’re relaxing at home or at your favorite vacation spot.

Want to learn more? Our friendly and knowledgeable customer support team is here to help 24/7. Just call 855.268.3669 or use the live chat feature on our website.

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