When we think about burglaries, we often imagine them happening in the dead of night. Someone in a ski mask picks a lock or knocks out a window and makes their way into a home, snagging everything of value while the homeowner sleeps or hides in another room calling the police. But the fact is, that’s not how most burglaries go down. The majority happen during the day, according to the FBI. A burglary occurs once every 30 seconds in the United States — and likely not when you might expect.
If your home gets robbed, your first reaction will likely be shock and disbelief. It’s so difficult to imagine something like that happening to you. But, the odds are that the burglary was not random. Many times, burglars will case or mark a home before making their move. If you know what to look for, you just might be able to identify these behaviors before the burglars have a chance to act. This can save you from a significant loss, turmoil and feelings of being unsafe in your own home.
Signs That Burglars Are Marking Your Home
No one wants to imagine that they are being watched. But if you pay close attention, you may start to notice some of the odd behaviors that can tip you off to the fact that a potential burglar is marking your home. There are telltale signs of this happening. If you start to see the same, unfamiliar car around your neighborhood or in front of your home, this may raise some suspicions. You should also watch for individuals who may be walking by frequently and eyeing your home. Another common tell is a random knock at your door. This can be done to determine if you have a dog or alarm system that they’ll trigger if they break in. You may also notice random acts of vandalism. A broken window in a remote part of the home, for instance, can be a precursor for a future break-in. Finally, if you find your trash rummaged through or scattered about, someone may be searching for information to determine if you are a good target.
What Burglars Look for in a Target
Typically, burglars mark a home in advance to determine if it will be a place they can break into without much resistance or risk. If multiple newspapers or several days of mail are left in the mailbox, they may assume that the homeowner is not home. Likewise, long grass or unkempt landscaping may suggest that the home is not being occupied at the moment. If the driveway is empty or no one has come in or out in a few days, they may determine that the home is a good target. Even if you keep lights on or have them set on a schedule, if it’s too consistent, the burglars may assume it’s automated.
What to Do if You Suspect A Burglar Is Casing Your Home
The first defense against a home break-in is a security system. Cameras and alarms are great tools to both help deter the break-in and to potentially catch the perpetrator. An awareness of your surroundings can also come in handy. If you start noticing suspicious activity, make a note of it. You can confer with your neighbors or bring it to local law enforcement so they can watch your area for suspicious activity. Don’t let paranoia get the best of you here, though. Remember that the world is not out to get you and that most people are not seeking to rob from you.
Stay Vigilant — and Protected
Burglars will often target homes that appear unoccupied for several days in a row, as they are looking for the least risk and resistance. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and bring your concerns to neighbors and law enforcement if necessary. To help ease fear and deter burglars, consider purchasing a security system, smart doorbell, or cameras — an extra set of eyes means increased peace of mind.