BOSTON—In a groundbreaking study of burglary-response tactics published Tuesday, researchers at Northeastern University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice found that 87% of home invasions were foiled when victims nervously muttered, “Who’s there?” upon hearing a strange noise. “Our extensive analysis of police reports indicates that almost nine in 10 trespassers dropped what they were doing and fled immediately after the home’s occupant awoke, sat bolt upright in bed, and gasped, ‘What was that?’ or something similar,” the study read in part, before adding that two-thirds of would-be assailants promptly returned chef’s knives to kitchen drawers following a whispered “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God” from the other room. “The majority of burglars will quickly return jewelry to the place they found it and crawl back out the window they jimmied open if a person simply turns on a bedside lamp and ask what’s going on out there. It remains the most successful strategy.” The study went on to note that 13% of the time, a shakily uttered inquiry was enough to convince burglars to tie themselves to a dining room chair and offer to wait until the police arrived.
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