What Burglars Look for in a House
In order to protect your home from intruders, it’s important to first know and understand what burglars look for when choosing homes to target. While some of their methods may be obvious, others you might find surprising. Here are a few things to consider when burglar-proofing your home.
First and foremost, many thieves seek opportunity. The highest reward for the least amount of work is what every intruder is aiming for. This means any opportunity you provide can, and eventually will, be taken advantage of. Some of the ways homeowners provide opportunities for burglars include:
- Leaving Garage Doors Open
- Leaving Doors Unlocked or Open
- Leaving Windows Unlocked or Open
- Leaving Curtains or Blinds Open
- Not Installing Curtains or Blinds
- Neglecting to Install an Alarm System
- Leaving Cars, Bicycles, and Other Belongings Unattended
Another thing burglars will look for in potential targets is privacy. If your home is at the end of an alcove, or if your doors and windows are shaded by large bushes or other landscaping that provide adequate hiding spots and areas to work without being seen, intruders will take advantage of the opportunity.
The Value of What’s in the Driveway
One of the most common methods burglars use to create potential targets is by determining the value of what’s inside the home based on what’s in the driveway. For example, a home with bicycles and toys that are frequently left in the yard or driveway can signal to a burglar that your home has valuable electronics, gaming systems, TVs, and other devices inside. A clean and well-maintained home with modest yet inviting decor, on the other hand, can welcome family and friends without signifying to intruders whether or not your home contains plenty of valuables inside.
Making it Obvious You Aren’t Home
If you go on vacation, even for just a couple of days, it may not always be obvious to your neighbors, but it can be obvious to burglars. A few of the ways burglars are able to determine whether or not a homeowner is at home or away include:
Ringing the Doorbell
Intruders will often ring doorbells to see if anyone answers the door. If your home is not protected by an alarm system, or if no notice of an alarm system is given, it will be obvious to an intruder that your home is potentially unoccupied.
Newspapers in the Driveway
If you are away from your home for more than a day, newspapers can pile up in the driveway. This is one of the surest ways that a homeowner is out of town. Intruders may also check to see if an accumulation of mail has collected in the mailbox to determine how long the owners have been away from the home.
Intruders know that most people take their garbage can back to its designated location once the garbage collection services have emptied it out, but if you are out of town, your garbage can may sit on the street for far longer than those of neighbors, a sure sign that a homeowner is not at home.
What Deters Burglars
Remember that burglars are seeking the easiest targets for the least amount of effort. Taking a little time to create burglar deterrents can help protect your home and your family.
Alarm Systems and/or Alarm System Signage
Whether your home has an alarm installed or not, an intruder is far less likely to attempt to break in if your doors and windows include stickers and decals signifying your home is protected by an alarm. While this is not always the case, since intruders know it can take time for police to respond to alarms, there are ways to ensure burglars are deterred. This includes choosing a reliable alarm company whose services are guaranteed even during a power outage or storm, such as ADT or SimpliSafe.
Installing Landscaping and Architectural Lighting
Landscaping and architectural lighting can not only add value to your home, but it can also deter burglars. If lighting is installed above or below doors and windows, this provides fewer chances for thieves to hide and to enter a home unnoticed. Consider investing in lighting timers that can be set to turn on and off even while you’re away from the home during the day or on vacation to give the appearance of movement inside.
Trim Trees, Bushes and Hedges
Keeping your landscaping maintained is another way to increase the value and curb appeal of your home while also removing opportunities for burglars. Without overgrown landscaping to provide adequate hiding places, burglars are less likely to find a door or window to enter, and they’re far more likely to move on to another target.
Nothing deters burglars looking for an easy entry like thorny rose bushes and other potentially uncomfortable landscaping. Install thorny greenery in front of windows to prevent intruders from being able to enter your home easily.
Dogs and/or Beware of Dog Signage
In addition to making great pets, dogs also make great burglar deterrents. Even if your home doesn’t have a German Shepherd on guard, a “Beware of Dog” sign can be enough to deter burglars seeking easy access into easy targets.
Where Do Burglars Look for Valuables?
If you’ve seen the faux books and electrical outlets intended to disguise secret hiding places, chances are experience burglars have too. The reality is that most burglars are smart enough to know where you’re hiding your most valuable items, like jewelry, cash, gaming systems, and weapons.
The reality is that if an intruder is able to make his way into your home, he will most likely search each and every room of your house looking for the easiest targets. This includes:
- Car Keys
This might seem like the most obvious place a burglar will look for valuables, and that’s because it is. If your jewelry box rests on a chest of drawers or in a visible location, a burglar will most surely manage to steal whatever is in inside.
Gun Safes and Cabinets
Next to electronics and jewelry, weapons are the most valuable item intruders are looking to get their hands on. If your home has a gun safe or cabinet, ensure it is locked when you are away from the home, and consider investing in one without a breakable glass exterior.
Will Burglars Come Back?
If your home was relatively easy to break into, and no visible changes have been made to the exterior of your home, such as yard signs advertising an alarm company, or more cars in the driveway, they very well may strike again. That’s why it’s best to protect your home from the inside with a reliable alarm system that can detect and deter intruders.