You might be surprised what burglars look for when they’re casing your home for a break-in. In fact, like many of us, you’re probably doing things everyday that unknowingly make your house an easy target for criminals.
I’ve paired research with real-life law enforcement experience to give you this practical guide on what burglars look for when selecting their next target. Read it over and share it with your neighbors. Together you’ll send a strong message to criminals that your community takes home security seriously and they better head elsewhere.
1. Giving workers TMI is asking for trouble.
Burglars don’t always wear dark clothing and ski masks. The clean-cut looking laborer you invite into your home to install your new dishwasher may have a part-time gig as a criminal. While he’s working in your home, he’ll listen to you chatting with your girlfriend about your family’s upcoming vacation, scope out your home for electronics and may even unlock a window to gain easy access while you’re away. If a worker is coming to your home, put valuables out of sight and watch what you say. Although the majority of laborers are hard-working honest folks, it’s a well-known fact there are some using their day job to case their next hit.
2. Leaving the front door unlocked is an open invitation.
Over a third of burglars enter the house through the front door. After knocking to confirm no one is home, they’ll test the door to see if it’s unlocked. An alarming number of times they’ll discover they’ve hit the jackpot and walk right in. Keep your doors locked, even if you’re just running the kids to school or walking the dog. As a law enforcement officer, I took several reports of burglaries that occurred while the homeowner was right in the backyard playing with the kids. So don’t assume your presence will scare him away.
3. Burglars love your predictable schedule.
What burglars look for is the perfect moment to strike. It’s creepy to think about, but a burglar could be watching your every move. In no time at all he’ll realize that every weekday morning you take the kids to school and don’t return home for 30 minutes. Given that statically he’ll only spend 8 to 12 minutes in your home, he’s identified the perfect opportunity. When at all possible, vary your schedule. When that’s not possible, keep a television or radio on or use timers to turn lights on and off. In either case, lock your home and be sure your home security system is activated.
4. A cluttered curb screams “No one is home.”
Trash cans, recycling bins, newspapers and an overgrown lawn are just a few things a burglar will look for when identifying his next target. When the vacation of your dreams is on your mind, it’s easy to forget about these small details, but they’re just what burglars look for. Hire a neighborhood teen to take in the trash, or ask a trusted neighbor to pick up the newspaper.
5. A security system is a powerful deterrent.
As a law enforcement officer, I rarely took a burglary report at a home with an active home security system. If you have a home security system, don’t get lazy. Activate the alarm each and every time you leave your home. If you don’t have a home security system, now is the time to get one. Our security system finder is a great place to start.
6. Leaving second floor windows open or unlocked.
Don’t be fooled; the second floor of your home isn’t burglar-proof. In fact, he’ll use the ladder you left out last weekend to access your home’s second floor windows with ease. Keep all windows closed and locked, and be sure they are outfitted with window alarm sensors. Should a burglar attempt to enter, you’ll know right away. Don’t overlook securing small windows, like those commonly found in basements and bathrooms. An adult might not be able to fit through it, but sadly, some burglars will force their children though, who then unlock the front door for the burglar to enter.
Couple our list of what burglars look for with a professional home security system and you’ll be well on your way to helping create a safe, secure place where your family can feel at ease.