No one ever thinks a burglary will happen to them, but there are worrying statistics that say otherwise. According to the FBI, a burglary was reported in the U.S. once every 25.7 seconds in 2018 and at an average rate of 341 burglaries per 100,000 people in 2019. While there’s evidence to suggest the number of burglaries per year is decreasing, it’s still important to know how to prevent break-ins so you can take steps to protect your home and family.
While it can be difficult to protect your home from every possible risk, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a burglary happening to you. The first step is to be aware of what burglars look for in a house they want to break into. Some of these reasons may seem obvious, but others are less so. Being aware of why burglars single you out when looking for a property will help you take preventative measures.
Things You’re Doing to Attract Burglars
1. An Attention-Grabbing Exterior
If your home has a showy exterior, for example, lots of garden ornaments, bright colors or lighting, this can attract a great deal of attention. While none of these things mean you’re going to get burgled, these things will make a potential intruder look twice at your home. A showy exterior may also signal to potential thieves that you have money to spend on decorations (and therefore steal).
2. Multiple Discrete Entrances
If your home has multiple points of entry, like basement doors and windows or large vents, it increases the chance of a burglar gaining access to your home. If those entrances are also hidden or not clearly visible from the street, this gives burglars great cover to break in without being disturbed. Security cameras, which you can either monitor yourself through an app or have professionally monitored for you, are a good investment if you have many of these inconspicuous entry points.
3. Leaving Out Tools for Burglars
It’s easy enough to forget leaving a ladder outside or even garden furniture such as tables and chairs. However, any items that an intruder can climb can make for easy access to your property. A ladder makes it much easier to access second-floor windows that you assume will be more secure. Garden tools such as axes, spades or rakes can also be used to break windows or even security cameras.
4. No Visible Security Equipment or Signs
Having a home security system can be invaluable for preventing and deterring potential thieves. However, this only works as a deterrent if the burglars know you have a security system. If there are no signs or visible cameras, they may think they’re safe. That’s why a lot of home security companies such as ADT will provide yard signs or window stickers to warn potential thieves.
5. Signs That Suggest You’re out of Town
Burglary rates tend to increase in the summer months for one major reason: A lot of people are on vacation and properties are left empty. This is a great opportunity for burglars. While staying discreet about your trip is a good idea, your home can reveal more than you’d like to burglars. For example, overgrown grass or mail piling up can signal that no one’s home. This is perfect for burglars who would rather not be disturbed while breaking in. Be sure to place a hold on your mail with the postal service and hire someone to keep the lawn looking like someone’s home. It’s also a good idea to leave a few lights on in the house.
6. Not-so-Hidden Keys
People will sometimes leave hidden spare keys outside their property in case they lose theirs or to give access to a family member. The bad news is that burglars all know this is a common thing to do and it doesn’t take very long to find a hidden key. Common places include under a fake rock, above door frames or under a lawn ornament. An experienced intruder will check all of these places so it’s best to rethink this habit.
7. Coverage From Hedges and Trees
Burglars prefer to gain access with little risk of disturbance from neighbors. Homes that have lots of trees or hedges are great for your privacy but also provide coverage for burglars breaking into a property. This leaves them with more time to break in and less risk of being disturbed or questioned by a neighbor.
8. Valuables Visible Through Windows and Doors
When burglars are scouting for homes to break into, any valuables they can see through windows or doors will become an instant target. Be sure not to leave valuables such as jewelry, wallets or car keys where they will be easily spotted. If a burglar knows they only need to spend a short time breaking in, they will choose your home over someone else’s.
9. A Rigid Routine
While this one might be a bit harder to change, having a rigid daily routine can also make you the target of thieves. If burglars scouting the area see that you leave at the same time each day with little change in your routine, this opens up a window of opportunity for them to access your property without being disturbed.
10. Unlocked Windows or Doors
The last thing on our list is perhaps the most obvious: unlocked windows and doors. People often forget to check that all windows are locked before they leave the house or go to bed. Or if you’re quickly visiting a neighbor, you may leave the door unlocked. Unfortunately, all it takes is a few minutes for a potential thief to gain access and steal from you, so try to get into the habit of keeping your home locked up.
If you take just some of these simple steps on how to prevent break-ins, your property will be much safer. It’s important to know exactly what burglars look for in a house so you can make small changes to prevent unwanted access.
For those who want reliable protection from home intruders, investing in a home security system is one of the best things you can do. There are plenty of home security systems out there with different equipment to suit different budgets. Some of the best pieces of equipment to include in your security system include smart locks and video doorbells to keep your doors secure from potential burglars. Motion detectors and visible cameras are also recommended. A simple yard sign is also a great deterrent for burglars.