An Epidemiological Study of Burglary Offenders: Trends and Predictors of Self-Reported Arrests for Burglary in the United States, 2002-2013


Burglary is serious property crime with a relatively high incidence that has been shown to be variously associated with other forms of criminal behavior. Unfortunately, an epidemiological understanding of burglary and its correlates is largely missing from the literature. Using public-use data collected between 2002 and 2013 as part of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this study examined people who self-reported burglary arrests in the prior 12 months, comparing those with a criminal history and those without one. The unadjusted prevalence estimates of self-reported burglary arrests were statistically different for those with a prior arrest history (4.7%) compared to those without an arrest history (0.02%), which is a 235-fold difference. Those with an arrest history were more likely to report lower educational attainment; lower income; moving more than three times in the past 5 years; using alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs; and engaging in binge drinking. Moreover, those with prior arrest histories were younger and more likely to be male. There is considerable heterogeneity among burglars with a criminal history, indicating substantially greater behavioral risk.


DeLisi, M., Nelson, E. J., Vaughn, M. G., Boutwell, B. B., & Salas-Wright, C. P. (2016). An epidemiological study of burglary offenders: Trends and predictors of self-reported arrests for burglary in the United States, 2002-2013. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 1(21). doi:10.1177/0306624×16670178