It might seem hard to burgle an apartment—after all, you definitely know your neighbors. You might be able to hear them through that one wall you share. You've probably chatted by the mailboxes or gone to the holiday party in the lobby. When you live that close, you really know your building, and it's easy to spot someone who's not supposed to be there. Right?
While you might have a thousand eyes watching—and even a doorman—how many times have you seen Mr. So-and-So down the hall let in a delivery man without any question at all? Do you know all 90 families in your 90-unit building well enough to know who might be moving?
Apartment buildings can still be juicy targets for burglars who get creative. Some might pretend to be movers and empty an apartment right out from under everyone's noses. Others might be "delivering flowers" or providing "much needed maintenance services." Apartments wind up burgled all the time—after all, many of the United States’ most burgled cities are apartment-heavy places.
If the stars align and precautions are followed, those responsible might be brought to justice. But all justice isn't created equal. We may live in the "United” States, but the law of the land varies depending on what state you happen to be in. And in 13 of those states, that state might be a state of distress—if you happen to be a burglar.
SimpliSafe dug through crime statistics and state laws to find out which states are the least forgiving of burglars, and to explore whether harshness deters theft, or makes thieves get more and more creative. They took many factors into account when weighing harshness—for instance, some states have "Stand Your Ground" or "Castle Doctrine." That means apartment-dwellers can legally shoot someone who's trying to break in. That's quite a bit worse for a would-be-rapscallion than a prison sentence.
The prison sentences themselves also varied wildly; minimums ranged from zero prison time in some states to seven years in Oklahoma. Maximums could be as low as three years (New Mexico and Kansas) and as high as life behind bars (South Carolina and Virginia). Fines were all over the board, ranging from $500 to $100,000—two hundred times as much!
In order to compare states, SimpliSafe created a ranking system and weighted each point based on where it fell in comparison to everything else. From there they came up with the Unlucky 13—unlucky if you're a burglar, that is. Spoiler alert—if your apartment is in Virginia, South Carolina or Alabama, prosecuting anyone who burgles your apartment to the fullest extent of the law goes a heck of a long way. But a word to the wise—the harshness doesn't deter criminal activity in South Carolina and Alabama, both of which have pretty severe burglary issues.
No matter which state your apartment is in, never let it be a state of unpreparedness. Install a security system, don't open the door for strangers, and make sure you know your neighbors. They've got your back and you should have theirs.
Kevin Raposo is a blogger for SimpliSafe. Kevin covers issues related to security, crime, and tech. When he's not blogging, you can find him behind a drumset trying to keep up his chops.
Check out the 13 Worst States To Be A Burglar infographic below.