If you see a shocking infographic on the Internet displaying “home invasion statistics,” [see image below] ignore it. The facts cannot be verified and the presentation is misleading. In short, this is bogus information at its worst. Unfortunately, you see this chart everywhere on the internet, so let’s break it down.
First of all — and most significantly — the term “home invasion” itself has never been legally defined as a federal offense in the U.S. Just ask Wikipedia. If this is so, how in the world can the FBI be the “source” for these statistics?
And then there are the “crime rate” statistics themselves. It’s possible some of these statistics, at some pinpoint in time for some jurisdictions, may be accurate. How would we know? We can’t find the original source citation and the infograhic doesn’t give us that information.
But even if we could verify the accuracy of the numbers, it wouldn’t matter. These statistics have nothing to do with “home invasion.” They’re about crime in general. Apparently, the manufacturers of this infographic just thought it would be more sensational if the graph talked in terms of “home invasion.”
And then there are the statistics themselves, draped in “home invasion” garb. How misleading! A “property crime” is not a home invasion as most readers, the media, and law enforcement have come to understand it. A “burglary” is not a home invasion, either. “Violent crimes” may be home invasions or they could be drive-by shootings, domestic assaults, or child abuse. “Grave assaults” are not synonymous with home invasions, either. In fact, Home Invasion News doesn’t even know what “grave assaults” are! We suspect this is a “made-up” term since the only legal definition of “grave” we can find refers to “a place where a dead body is interred.”
And then there’s this preposterous claim: “1 out of 5 homes will experience a break-in or invasion.” So what? Since break-ins include any “trespass for an unlawful purpose,” this could mean somebody coming into your yard to kick your barking dog. How about “invasion”? What are we talking about here, really? Visitors from Planet X?
Finally, there is this breath-taking statistic: “8,000+ home invasions occur in North America every day.” North America? Including Canada? And Mexico? Every day? C’mon, guys. Nobody has these statistics, not even the FBI. Moreover, judging from the nationwide RSS feed posting every day on Home Invasion News, we aren’t seeing even 80 home invasions, let alone 8,000. Outrageous!
This little “infoterror” goes on to tell us that 38% of “assaults” and 60% of “rapes” occur in home invasions. Again, what’s the point? We won’t dispute the possibility that most rapes occur when somebody enters a home without permission. That may also be true for “assaults.” But the implication that “home invasion” is statistically linked to assaults and rape is ludicrous. Again, these “statistics” are manufactured, misrepresented, massaged, and manipulated with a single purpose: to scare you.
But wait, there’s more…
The graphic states that 3,600,000 was the “average number” of home invasions occuring annually between 1994 and 2000. Nonsense! That’s a five-year period, not counting 1994 and 2000, bringing us to a total of about 18 MILLION home invasions. That’s one every 34 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for those five years. And that’s just on “average,” according to the chart.
So where did all this cockamaimie stuff about “home invasion” come from?
From what Home Invasion News can discern, in 1995 the FBI issued a Crime Bulletin that included an article by Chief James T. Hurley while he was serving with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Chief Hurley’s article attempted to define “home invasion” and describe how, in his opinion, it is different from other crimes. A reprint of that article appears on the Fernandina Beach websiste and can be seen found here.
Some time later, bNet, the Harvard Business School website, reprinted Chief Hurley’s article here.
It appears that Chief Hurley and the FBI Crime Bulletin put “home invasion” on the map in 1995, a period during which violent crime was coming off its big high in 1994 in the United States [see “Violent Crime Rate for United States, 1992-2000,” link below]. Take Chief Hurley’s concern, weave some statistics — any statistics — into the mix and you’ve got … mud.
That’s how bad information spreads. But why?
This infographic was put into circulation by Interactive Holdings, LLC, a company headquartered in North Carolina that functions as a multifaceted holding company for various Internet, information technlogy, creative design, and marketing solutsions. In other words, a marketing operation whose assignment — in this case — appears to have been driving traffic to local “bump resistant certified locksmiths.”
Since the infographic was created, things have changed a bit at the original website, bumpkeywarning.com. The graphic itself has been taken down, but some of the same misleading statistics still appear. In addition, a notice now appears on the “home invasion” portion of the bumpkeywarning site: Interactive Holdings, LLC, owners of BumpKeyWarning.com make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this web site or web sites that are or may be linked to the BumpKeyWarning.com web site now or in the future. Access to and use of all information is at the user’s risk. Looks like the little infographic caused some issues.
But wait, there’s more …
From creation by Inteactive Holdings for bumpkeywarning.com, the inforgraphic was then adopted and spread by HomeownersInsurance, a private organization that markets insurance products on behalf of companies that insure against disaster — earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires, blizzards, biochemical disasters, recycling, cleaning alternatives, home improvement, energy efficiency, indoor air quality — and yes, you’ve got it! — staying safe. Both companies are commercial operations likely to benefit from the fear prompted by high crime statistics.
We weren’t born yesterday and marketing is marketing. Home Invasion News isn’t saying there’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re just agreeing with President Franklin Roosevelt that the most dangerous thing any of us faces is “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
So, if you want real statistics from the FBI, check out this Home Invasion News post which reprints 2009 FBI crime statistics showing a decline in the rate of violent crime that continues to this day, according to this June 2 article in The Economist.
Finally, if you enjoy well-researached statistics on violent crime, check the motherlode here, happy credits to Zanran.com, Numerical Search Data.
If you still want to see the Infographic With No Info, look below. Or not.
Via: Homeowners Insurance