Burglary Tourists

Apr 11 / Dan Keller

“Burglary Tourists” is a term used for individuals from other countries who enter the US legally, often on a visa waiver or tourist visa, and then break into homes with the intention of burglary, sell the items for cash, then return quickly to their home country. US law enforcement officials have reported an uptick in these types of burglaries.

“Burglary Tourists” (sometimes referred to as Crime Tourists) often travel from South American countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru, and target affluent neighborhoods in the United States for home burglaries.  These burglars enter the US from countries that qualify for visa waivers which allow a visitor for up to 90 days without a traditional tourist visa.

Burglary tourists typically commit high-end home burglaries when homeowners are away and the home is unoccupied. One of these methods of illegal home entry is to take advantage of the lack of window intrusion detection alarms on second floors of homes.  They may also have devices to jam wi-fi’s that block alarm monitoring services.


Despite the frequency and wide geographic area of occurrence, there is no formal tally of the number of home burglaries committed by burglary tourists.


Burglary tourists frequently target affluent Asian and Middle Eastern families because the burglars believe these families keep gold, jewelry, and other items of wealth in their homes or have large amounts of cash on hand. They attack wealthy neighborhoods where homes have jewelry or high-value items that can readily be changed for cash.  After committing the burglaries and selling items of value they have stolen, they return to their home countries with the cash.


Burglary tourists are careful to commit non-violent crimes against property because if apprehended, the bail is usually low.


Crime Prevention Recommendations

  • Store valuable jewelry not frequently worn in a deposit box of a bank or other financial institution
  • Equip the entry door of the resident’s primary bedroom with a sturdy solid core door, a high-quality deadbolt lock and a reinforced strike plate
  • Equip the windows of the primary bedroom with an electronic glass break detector


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