How Burglars Target Which Homes to Rob, and How to Keep Yours Off Their Hit Lists!
Talk about preventive medicine! The four percent (4%) of homes that take absolutely no security measures account for nearly thirty percent (30%) of all burglaries! And the greater the amount of security measures you take in your home, the lesser the likelihood of your home being robbed.
Just as those in law enforcement do, the best way to protect your home from unwanted visitors (burglars, not the in-laws) is to "think like the burglars think."
How do they decide which homes to rob? Here are their top considerations when targeting a house:
Secure Your Windows
Dogs are a Top Home Security Measure ... But Not Necessarily This Particular Dog.
One-third of all burglars gain access to properties through windows not easily visible from the street, including the back windows.
Burglars will look for windows that are already open or will break through the glass. Securing your windows with PVCu frames will provide a tighter seal, making it more difficult for burglars to force open a window. Double-glazing the glass will make it much harder to break through.
The bottom line: Keep windows that are accessible to ground-level locked at night and when you are not home. When leaving them open during the day, be sure not to leave them unattended for long periods of time. This applies to doors, too -- always keep doors locked, even if you think your neighborhood is "safe."
Avoid the Tell-Tale Signs that You are Not Home
If you were going to break into a home, what would you look for? Certainly, signs that someone is not home, as nearly half of burglaries occur when a home is empty. Therefore:
- Don't let newspapers gather on your driveway or near your doorstep, and don't let your mailbox get overstuffed with your mail. Ask a neighbor or friend to routinely pick these up for you.
- Never leave a message on your voicemail or answering machine stating you will be away for any extended period of time.
- Do not close all of your drapes or blinds, as burglars can scope neighborhoods for days and if your drapes and blinds are closed day and night this is a major sign that you and your family may be out of town.
- If you are going to be gone for an extended period, make sure you have someone keep your lawn mowed, leaves raked, and snow shoveled. High grass or un-shoveled walkways and driveways are a top sign that no one is home. If you can't find neighbors or friends willing to do this, there are services you can hire who will that you can find in your local phone book.
- Have various lights in your home turn on and off automatically and randomly during the evening and night. Experienced burglars know to watch for homes with lights that remain on at all times, so for just under $8 per unit an investment in several Intermatic TN711C Random Pattern Security Timers is a very wise investment indeed!
Unlike fixed light timers, with the Intermatic Random Timer you can (very easily) program lights to go on and off in your home at slightly different times each day (e.g., 6:15pm one evening, 6:20 pm the next, etc.)
In five minutes or less, experienced burglars can break in, steal your jewelry and other valuables and leave, without neighbors or anyone ever noticing. It pays to take the steps above when you will be away from home a night or for more extended periods.
Don't be the One Left Without an Alarm
Sometimes just having a sign that your home is protected with a burglar alarm is enough to deter a thief. Unfortunately, most thieves will know when a sign is a bluff. Your best bet is to secure your home with a visible security alarm, and the trend seems to be catching on: the number of households with burglar alarms increased from 18 percent to 27 percent since the mid-nineties.
Be sure to choose an alarm from a reputable company. Before you invest in a home security alarm, though, SixWise.com highly recommends you read the book "How To Circumvent a Security Alarm In 10 Seconds or Less: An Insider's Guide to How It's Done and How To Prevent It"
If you are in the market for a home security alarm, the $15 or so you spend on this engaging and highly informative read can save you hundreds to thousands in costly mistakes ... and frustration.
"How to Circumvent a Security Alarm in 10 Seconds or Less" will educate you on the serious flaws in current security systems, how to overcome them, and how to effectively deal with those trying to sell you systems and install those systems.
Other Top Tips to "Think Like a Burglar" and Protect Your Home
- Always lock doors and windows -- and invest in good locks, especially deadbolt locks for all exterior doors.
- Don't hide keys under doormats, or anywhere outside the house at all. Burglars know all about the "secret" hiding places of keys outside. Leave them with a friend or neighbor instead.
- Never leave a note on the door instructing someone to "leave a package around back" because you won't be home. You may as well construct a bright orange flag to hang over your door that says "Perfect Home to Rob!" if you leave any type of letter outside your home indicating you will be away.
- In addition to NOT leaving a message on your answering machine that you will be away, turn the volume on it down so others on the outside cannot hear it coming on when the phone rings.
- Keep your yard well lit, especially near doorways and windows.
- Install door and window sensors on vulnerable areas -- the alarm will sound if the door or window is opened.
- Don't forget to lock and secure storage sheds, garage doors and gates.
- Keep trees and shrubs well trimmed -- this gives burglars fewer places to hide.
- Keep valuable items like computers, stereo equipment, jewelry and electronics away from windows and outside views.
- Get a "Beware of the Dog" sign or, better yet, a dog. Dogs are one of the top burglar deterrents around, especially the big loud ones!
- Don't invite strangers into your home and keep your name off of your mailbox and off of door knockers, etc.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your house while you're on vacation. Terry Sheridan, Baltimore County Chief of Police said, "There are many precautions you can take before you leave for vacation, but the single best way to deter burglars is to have a neighbor be on the lookout and check your house."
How to Discourage Burglars
Practical Tips to Secure Your Home