Famke Janssen, an actress known for her role in “Wolverine,” made headlines earlier this month when she came home and found her home was broken into. Although there weren’t extreme signs of a burglary, the intruder left behind a copy of the book, “The Lonely Doll,” on a shelf in her bedroom. While the signs could’ve been more extreme, it is unnerving to know anyone unwanted has been in your home.
The signs your home is being cased may be subtle and require you to be as observant as Janssen. Here are four of the top indications your home may be targeted by a potential burglar.
1. Strange Vehicle on the Street
An unknown vehicle parked outside your home could be a warning sign. Look for vehicles that do not belong to any of your neighbors or people visiting them, or a vehicle that seems to be lingering in the area for no apparent reason. The vehicle may be parked for an extended period of time, or it may return at random times. Either could be an indication that someone is trying to learn your routine and determine the best time to strike. You should also be wary of strange vehicles with heavily tinted windows or cars parked at angles so you can’t identify the occupants.
2. Stranger Walking the Street
An individual walking or jogging for exercise is easy to spot. They wear appropriate attire, and often sport headphones or exercise with friends. If you spot someone who is walking down the street, but does not fit the profile of someone exercising or walking as a form of travel, take a minute to observe what they are doing. If they are walking slowly, intently observing their surroundings and showing an inappropriate amount of interest in your house, they may be casing your home, looking for vulnerabilities.
3. A Request for Help
Often a request for help is just that: a request for help. Sometimes, however, it may be an attempt to get a better look at the inside of your home. If stranger comes to your door asking to use the phone, your bathroom or asks for a glass of water, make sure they do not have unrestricted access to your home. Criminals will often use a legitimate-sounding request to get inside and then unlatch a door or window for their return visit later that night. Don’t let anyone you don’t know in your home and if you go in to get something, close and lock the door behind you.
4. Work was Recently Done at Your Home
It is not uncommon for burglars to have a job that gives them access to people’s homes. They may be a handyman, landscaper or door-to-door salesman. Whatever their occupation, it gives them access to a variety of homes and helps them determine the best possible targets. If one of these individuals randomly shows up at your house again, uninvited and with no discernible reason, there is a good chance they returned believing you were not home. While they will likely be quick to leave once they realize their plans were foiled by your presence, you should call the police and report the encounter as suspicious activity.
While there is no way to completely prevent all break-ins, being observant can help you know when your house is being targeted and help you take steps to avoid the worst. Keep your home secure with a monitored security system to help you protect against anyone who thinks they should try to break in your home.
Written by Elli Bishop
Elli is a safety and security expert for the Safewise team. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, practicing yoga, and spending time with friends and family. Learn more