You could get robbed in less time than it takes you to read this page. Seriously, a run-of-the-mill burglar can break into your home in less than 60 seconds and spend less than 10 minutes stealing your prized possessions.1 Here's a breakdown of how it happens.
The burglar puts in time before he lays a finger on your property—beginning with lurking outside your home, looking for telltale signs that no one's there and determining if your home is ripe for a robbery.
what's the burglar looking for? hover to find out!
Tip: When you go on vacation, call your local post office and newspaper provider to put your mail and newspaper delivery on hold. Or ask a reliable neighbor to pick it up for you.
Tip: Keep your trees and bushes trimmed, so burglars can't hide behind them while they break into your windows or doors.
Tip: Have a neighbor park in front of your home when you're gone.
Before breaking in, a burglar rings the doorbell to make sure no one's home, sometimes wearing a uniform or carrying a clipboard. If someone answers the door, they pretend to have the wrong house or ask some survey questions. If all's quiet, they proceed to the back of the house.8
you can't be home all the time, so here are some tips to make burglars think twice about breaking in.
Outdoor motion sensors can trigger anything from a light to a recording of a barking dog inside the home—light and loud noises are two huge burglar deterrents.
Not only will a burglar be deterred by the thought that they're on camera, but by using mobile security apps (like Alarm.com), you can be notified when someone approaches your door when you're not home.
Set up an intercom that will connect through your cell phone when you're away. A burglar will be rattled by the knowledge that you're keeping a close watch.
If it seems no one is home, burglars make their way to the back of the home and break in where there are fewer prying eyes. Sixty seconds later, the burglar is in your home, going through your stuff.9
find out how to thwart the bad guys.
Sliding glass doors are candy to burglars because they can be easily lifted off the track.10
Tip: Place cameras at your back door. Many homeowners put security cameras at the front door, but then neglect the back, where most burglars break in.
Most burglars use some force to enter a home, but their preference is to gain easy access through an open door or window.11
Tip: Don't forget the small stuff— make sure doors and windows are secure.
Leaving a gate open sends a signal to a burglar that you're probably not concerned about safety. If you can't be bothered to close a gate, you probably don't lock your windows or arm your security system, either.13
Tip: Before you leave the house, check to make sure gates that allow access to the rear of your home are locked and secure.
About 74% of uncompleted intrusions can be credited to an audible burglar alarm.12
Burglars head straight for the goods in the master bedroom, where most people keep their valuables.14
Where burglars check first: dresser drawers, nightstands, closets, and under your mattress.15
what's the burglar looking for in the master bedroom?
Although you might keep a gun in your home for protection, they're also one of the main targets for burglars. Keep yours in a safe or hidden in another part of the house.
Investing in a safe is a smart idea, but bolt it to the floor unless you want a burglar to walk out with it.
Don't leave cash or credit cards in easy-to-spot places like on a night stand or the top of a dresser.
Jewelry boxes are pretty, but they're also a neon sign for burglars that flashes, 'Here's all my valuable stuff!'
Many burglars leave after hitting the master bedroom, which means they spend less than a total of two minutes in your home. However, if they're not satisfied after the master bedroom, some burglars stay as long as 10 minutes and ransack the rest of the house.17
find out how to protect your valuables throughout the home.
A burglar will often check your medicine cabinet for easy-to-grab medications, either for themselves or to sell.18
Burglars quickly look for small, easy-to-carry, high-value electronics, such as iPods, laptops, cameras, phones, and video game devices.21
Tip: Make sure to put away small devices. You can put iPods and hand-held games in a kitchen drawer or coffee table with a hidden drawer.
If a burglar has a truck or large getaway car, it's likely they'll try to take your nice television and any expensive gaming consoles you have.20
Burglars will quickly check your computer for valuable password information or important documents.20
Tip: Protect your personal computer with a password login.
A burglar will search your file cabinet or desk drawers for any documents that can be used for identity theft.19
After easily robbing a home in 8 minutes, a burglar typically calls a partner to meet him to help load up the goods.22
Poof! All your stuff is Gone!
After burglars rob your home, they will usually quickly turn stolen property into cash. Often, burglars will unload stolen items through anonymous means, such as selling them through a pawn shop, Craigslist, or eBay.23 For this reason, it can be nearly impossible to track down property once it's been stolen.
The summer months of July and August have the most burglaries, and February has the fewest.3
Most burglaries happen between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., when people are less likely to be home.4
Over $13 billion is stolen in property from residences each year.24 Once a home has been robbed, it's common for the same burglars to return to a home a second time.25 They assume homeowners will replace all their valuables, and they'll know exactly what they can get the second time around. If you've been robbed once, it's important to quickly take action and implement safety changes.