5 Secrets burglars don't want you to know

Don't think you'll get robbed? In 2021, around 19 people in 1,000 on average were affected by property crime. To thwart a burglar, you need to think like a burglar. And while you may think you know what burglars look for when they’re casing your home you’re probably doing things every day that unknowingly make your house more of a target.

We’ve paired research from our security experts with real-life experience to give you practical advice to deter burglars. 

1. Your front door is too enticing

Think the front door is too obvious a target? Not so! Over one-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, walking the dog, or lounging in the backyard.

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

Once you have the lock situation handled, you need to know when that door comes open—no matter if you're home or not. Your best option is to invest in a home security system with door sensors. Our top pick is Vivint home security systems.

Once this system is set up, you'll get alerts to your phone when the front door, or any entry point is opened, no matter how far away you are.

2. Your home isn't scary enough

Okay, we're not suggesting you turn your home into a high-security prison, but you need to make it look as intimidating as possible to a burglar. 

See, they watch your home before they plan a break-in. They take notes. Here are some things they look for:

  • Is there any sign of a security system?
  • Does the lighting around the house suck?
  • Do they have a dog?

To deter criminals right away, get yourself a security system sign. When asked, 60% of burglars said that if they were casing a potential target they'd be deterred by an alarm system. Don't use those fake security system signs, though. Thieves can easily Google to see if it's a real security company. 

Your best bet is to install a real security system and post their stickers and signs around your house. One of the most intimidating systems is ADT. Thieves know the name since it is one of the oldest security systems in the game.

Another good deterrent is a blast of bright light to the face at night. Burglars want to be stealthy, and they can't do that if a motion sensor light turns on every time they try to tiptoe into the yard. 

Ring has a great lineup of floodlights that are bright and have motion sensors that can be adjusted. Our favorite is the Ring Floodlight Cam Wired Pro because it has a built-in security camera.

Should you get a dog to add to your home security, as well? Nope. Getting a living creature just for home security isn't terribly humane. On the other hand, if you want a dog to love and scare off intruders, go for it. In our State of Safety survey, many folks said they used a pet as a way to secure their homes. If you're not ready for commitment, just post a “Beware of Dog” sign.

3. You're way too predictable

To get access to your home, burglars watch to see if you have a regular schedule. Do the people that live in this house have regular windows in their schedule, like driving the kids to school or going to work? Yes? Heck ya, that's when I'm going to break in.

When at all possible, vary your schedule. When that’s not possible, keep a television or radio. Or use smart plugs to turn lights on and off so it looks like someone is home, even when they aren't.

4. Your yard is an easy target

Image: David Duky

Not all burglars need to get into your home to get away with some big ticket items. Your yard is probably full of awesome stuff to steal, like your kid's bikes, tools, or even your car. Here are some ways to secure your yard.

Our expert advisor, criminal justice and theft expert Dr. Ben Stickle, says that one of the best ways to protect your goodies is to keep them out of sight. If you can't stash them in a garage or storage building, consider getting a privacy fence or adding privacy screens to chainlink fences.

Next, make sure to lock your vehicles. Criminals like an easy steal, so they usually don't want to take the time to break a car window.

Finally, don't forget about security cameras. Posting cameras around your home can do more than deter baddies—it can also catch the ones that ignore your cameras. We recommend the Reolink Argus 3 Pro with Solar Panel because it has all of the great features of other big names, but for a lower price. Plus, it's solar powered.

5. You're leaving your second floor vulnerable

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, lock up your ladders, and be sure windows 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.

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