A burglary can understandably leave people feeling violated and afraid. Sadly, some homeowners can experience this more than once. In some cases, apparently burglars research and target homes before they make a move. Here are some things to be aware of that may make a home a target for burglary.
1. Unlocked Doors and Windows
Leaving doors and windows unlocked is an open invitation for burglars. If given a choice, a criminal will always select an unlocked dwelling over one that’s locked. Always make sure to secure all doors and windows. Homeowners should even double-check locks when they’re home. If a broken lock or missing set of keys is the reason for leaving doors unlocked, it’s time to call for locksmith services. A locksmith can rekey any lock quickly to help make a house less appealing to burglars.
2. Empty House
Criminals often scope out potential targets before making a move. They’ll note a homeowner’s daily schedule and keep track of when people are not home. There’s a misconception that burglars prefer to work at night. However, most burglaries actually occur between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. when people are at work or school. Creating the illusion that someone is home around the clock help deter criminals. Consider leaving the radio playing. Even turning on a few indoor lights will make a burglar think twice.
3. Piles of Mail
Burglars often target homes with piles of newspapers at the doorstep or an overstuffed mailbox. These clues indicate the homeowner is out of town. If heading out for a few days, ask a friend to pick up the mail and newspapers. Letting a neighbor park their car in the driveway will also make it seem like there’s someone home. Further, make sure to schedule regular lawn care. An unkempt, overgrown landscape signals to a criminal that there’s no one around. Before leaving on a trip, take the necessary precautions to make your home appear occupied.
4. Busy Neighborhoods
The goal of a burglar is to get in and out without being noticed. People who live in high-crime, high-drug neighborhoods tend to be victims more often than those who live in a quieter suburb. Criminals know they can blend in with a crowd, and larger cities tend to have more people coming and going at all hours. Anyone residing in busier neighborhoods should consider adding surveillance cameras or an alarm system to make their home less desirable to burglars.
5. Isolated Homes
Homes in rural areas are also prime targets for burglars. People who live away from big cities tend to take fewer precautions to protect their property. Farmers, for instance, may own large pieces of equipment that they leave unattended in their yards. Those living in rural towns are also less likely to own a security system, and many leave their doors unlocked. Unfortunately, criminals use this to their advantage. Additionally, burglars know it will take longer for police to arrive if they get caught in the act. Although living in a rural area is mostly quiet, homeowners should still stay vigilant in securing their houses.
6. Accessible Backyards
Private backyards are a huge selling point for buyers. However, criminals also seek out homes with easily accessible backyards. Burglars will do anything to avoid being seen. Breaking in through the front door is always a risk because of foot and vehicle traffic. Conversely, gaining entry through a back entrance shields the criminal from a neighbor’s view. It tends to be the least visible entrance in a home. Adding a locked fence and securing all rear doors are the best ways to prevent a backyard invasion.
7. Signs of Wealth
Stealing is a crime of opportunity, and most burglars resell their loot to make a quick buck. No criminal wants to risk breaking into a house to steal worthless junk. Instead, they’re more likely to seek out properties that showcase wealth. Robbers may scope out homes in advance by peering through windows. They hope to find expensive electronics, flashy jewelry, or even luxury clothing. The more valuables they see, the more likely they are to rob the place. Homeowners can protect their belongings by keeping them out of sight. Hide any jewelry or collectibles inside a safe, and close the curtains to prevent anyone from sneaking a glance.
8. Window AC Units
Many homes don’t have central air conditioning. Instead, these homeowners rely on window AC units to stay cool in the warmer months. Unfortunately, window units are also a target for burglars. Even if a homeowner locks their doors religiously, it’s pretty easy for a criminal to gain entrance by kicking in the AC unit. Once they get inside, it only takes a few minutes for the burglar to grab a few items and leave. Adding a window lock, wedges, and some extra screws may help better secure the system. If possible, try installing the air conditioner on hard-to-reach windows.
9. No Security System
The number-one goal of burglars is not to get caught. Having a security system is still one of the easiest ways to prevent burglaries. After all, if a criminal thinks they will set off a loud, extremely noticeable alarm, they’ll probably just head to another house. Many homeowners believe installing an alarm system is too expensive, but there are options to fit most budgets. Simply displaying an alarm provider’s signs in the yards will deter criminals. If a security system is still out of the question, consider adopting a dog for home protection. A fierce bark will scare away most criminals.
10. Previous Target
Once a burglar successfully breaks into a home, they are more likely to return in the future. The criminal already knows the layout of the house, and there may be something else inside they want to steal. After being burglarized, the homeowner should file a police report and inform their neighbors. It’s also a wise idea to comb the property for any unsecured areas.
Protect Your Home from a Crime of Opportunity
Is your home burglar-proof? Most burglars don’t select homes at random. They usually spend time researching the neighborhood and locating prime targets. Taking the necessary precautions to secure every entry point is the best way to protect your family and valuables from greedy criminals.