Home Invasion Kidnapping: How Likely Is It?

Filed under: Home Invasion Statistics,Stories |

A brutal home invasion took place in Oklahoma City on July 20. The crime had all the earmarks of a “classic home invasion” — four people who forced their way into the home with weapons, demanded cash, drugs, and electronics from the four residents, and physically intimidated and harmed one of the residents. This crime, though, topped off the home invasion by kidnapping the wife. She was able to escape shortly after. Few details beyond this report are available.

Was the Oklahoma City incident related to the drug trade? We do know that the four home invasion thieves were demanding information about drugs. And what about the kidnapping? Home Invasion News began to wonder what part drugs and kidnapping play in home invasions as commonly reported by the media.

In June, we did a report on the city of Phoenix, Arizona, once tagged by the Department of Justice as the “Kidnap-for-Ransom Capital of the United States.” Until March of this year, it appeared to many observers that home invasion kidnapping was indeed on the rise. On March 17, however, The Phoenix New Times reported that investigators found some of the kidnapping statistics had been mislabeled in an alleged effort to secure $2.45 million in federal funding. An ABC15 investigation of the inflated statistics led to a Department of Justice probe. So — at least in terms of the Phoenix experience — we can’t be sure if kidnapping during home invasion is on the rise.

After reading the Oklahoma story, on July 24, Home Invasion News decided to do a little research to see what the Internet might turn up. Bear in mind that our efforts are in no way a statistical study. The methodology is far from scientific. It’s just a Google search. On the other hand, what we uncovered confirms what we already suspected, namely:

A sizeable percentages of crimes reported by the media as “home invasions” involve one gang/group of drug dealers forcing entry into the home of another gang/group to retrieve drugs and or cash from the sale of drugs. This is NOT to say that these home invasions are “okay.” It is simply to say that people dealing in or taking drugs are much more likely than the average person to be the victim of a home invasion.

As to kidnapping, our quick research also suggests that — unless drug users and drug dealers are either victim or perpetrator — kidnapping for ransom is an uncommon dimension of classic home invasion robberies.

Here’s how the research went:

• If we search the term “home invasion” for the past year, Google returns 233 million entries.

• If we search the term “home invasion” for the past year, and exclude the word “drugs” from the search, Google returns 141 million entries, or 40% fewer entries.

• If we search the term “home invasion” for the past month, Google returns 127 million entries.

• If we search the term “home invasion” for the past month, and exclude the word “drugs” from the search, Google returns 57 million entries, or 56% fewer entries.

This suggests — though it does not prove — that approximatley 40% to 50% of all “home invasions” reported by the media involve drugs in some capacity, either as an item sought, or an item stolen.

Home Invasion News has taken the position that a classic home invasion — as opposed to a burglary, trespass, breaking and entering, etc. — must involve the perpetrators using a weapon of some sort. Therefore, in pursuit of more accurate statistics as related to classic home invasion, we needed to integrate the term “weapons” into our Google search. Therefore:

• If, for the past year, our Google search must include both the term “home invasion” and the word “weapons,” Google returns 627,000 entries.

• If, for the past year, our Google search must include both the term “home invasion” and the word “weapons,” but also exclude the term drugs, Google returns 423,000 entries, or 33% fewer “home invasion” media reports that don’t mention drugs.

• If, for the past month, our Google search must include both the term “home invasion” and the word “weapons,” Google returns 159,000 entries.

• If, for the past month, our Google search must include both the term “home invasion” and the word “weapons,” but also exclude the term drugs, Google returns 111,000 entries, or 31% fewer “home invasion” media reports that don’t mention drugs.

Therefore, as reported by the media, about 30% of classic home invasion crimes (which, by our definition, must include the use of a weapon) also involve drugs in some capacity, either as an item sought, or an item stolen.

Home Invasion News feels safe suggesting, therefore, that people who not involved in either using or dealing drugs are 30 to 50% less like to be the victim of a classic home invasion crime.

But what about kidnapping?

To focus in on a classic home invasion in which no drugs were reported, on July 25, Home Invasion News conducted a Google search with the following parameters: The terms “home invasion,” “weapons,” and “kidnap” must be included and the term “drugs” must be excluded. The search returned 512 results. Also excluding the term “movie” (to eliminate Google references to the current movie “Kidnapped”) reduced the number of hits to 353.

In short, among the 15,300 results of the generic “home invasion” search conducted on July 25 for events occuring in the last 24 hours , only 353 of those results were not drug related, but did involve weapons and kidnapping.

If these statistics are even close to accurate, only about 2% (0.023) of classic, non-drug related home invasion crimes involve kidnap threats, attempts, or activities.

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