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Home Invasion is the stuff of nightmares, and red meat for TV shows like Criminal Minds and Numb3rs. The Sun reports that, “residential robberies” have recently spiked in Baltimore, even as other types of crimes are falling.

Residential robberies were up 34 percent through April 3, compared with the same period a year ago. It’s the only category of crime on the rise. Homicides, rapes and overall robberies are down by double-digit percentages, according to police.

Police say they can’t pinpoint any driving force behind the uptick, and they aren’t ready to blame a still-struggling economy or drug activity.

The increase is being felt across the city, but most heavily in Northwest Baltimore, which has notched 21 residential robberies compared with eight at this time last year.

Northwest Baltimore is one of the more prosperous areas of the city, although Federal Hill in South Baltimore is more obviously upscale. My wife didn’t feel safe in noisy Federal Hill, so we moved to a neighborhood in the Northwest, which has seemed comparatively peaceful so far. Twenty-one isn’t a lot until it happens to you.

The rise is not unique to Baltimore … Police Chief Cathy Lanier, [said the] District of Columbia was experiencing a “marked increase” in home invasions.

In an e-mail, Lanier confirmed that district police saw a spike late last year, but she said such incidents are down 31 percent so far this year. She said police in the district characterize home invasions as “burglaries while armed.”

Some home invasions around here are certainly part of the violent business of dealing drugs. But others involve innocent targets. It makes sense that nervous criminals would shy away from small businesses with security cameras and shotgun-wielding owners to the safer targets of private homes.

I Googled around to see if this was part of a national trend, but since home invasion is not necessarily a separately-tracked crime, many online statistics for home invasions seem to emanate from security firms. Depending on the circumstances, police file reports under burglary, robbery, assault and even homicide, rape or kidnapping.

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  1. A home invasion is not a burglary, it is a robbery and a violent crime. Sometimes it may start as a burglary but escalate if the occupants are awakened or confronted by the would be burglar. It only has to happen to you once and you will never truely sleep well again without significant security against a repeat performance.

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