5 Things You Unknowingly Do That Welcome a Burglar

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 every day that unknowingly make your house an easy target.

We’ve paired research with real-life experience to give you practical advice to deter burglars. And some good news: most of the solutions don’t cost a dime.

What To Do After a Home Burglary | How To Recover From a Break-In

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1. An unlocked front door

Over one-third of burglars enter the house through the front door.1 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, walking the dog, or lounging in the backyard.

If you're worried you or your kids will be locked out, don't go for the obvious key-under-a-fake-rock route. Get a smart door lock with a keypad for keyless entry.

2. Your predictable schedule

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What burglars look for is the perfect moment to strike. If you have regular windows in your schedule like driving the kids to school or leaving for work, be aware that burglars might notice these patterns.

When at all possible, vary your schedule. When that’s not possible, keep a television or radio on or use smart plugs to turn lights on and off. In either case, lock your home and be sure your home security system is activated.

3. A cluttered curb

Trash cans, recycling bins, newspapers, or an overgrown lawn are just a few things a burglar might look for when identifying their next target. When the vacation of your dreams is on your mind, it’s easy to forget about these small details. Hire a neighborhood teen to take in the trash or ask a trusted neighbor to pick up the newspaper.

4. No security system

If you have a home security system, 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 review of the best home security systems is a great place to start.

5. Leaving second-floor windows open or unlocked

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Don’t be fooled; the second floor of your home isn’t burglar proof. The ladder you left out last weekend could be used to access your home’s second-floor windows with ease.

Keep all windows closed and locked, and be sure they’re 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.

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.

Related articles on SafeWise


  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting, “Crime in the United States 2019, Burglary.” Accessed April 5, 2022.


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Alexia Chianis
Written by
Alexia Chianis
Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics.

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