Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your home from burglars. Although some tips and tricks of how to prevent a burglary are intuitive—keep doors locked, install a security system, get a dog with a mean bark—there are some things about criminal behavior and home invasion statistics that might surprise you.
Most burglaries happen in the daytime
Although the image of the thief in the dead of night persists in popular culture, in actuality the majority of home invasions happen between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Why? Because that is when people are at work and school (including neighbors), and homes are left empty. It’s not difficult for burglars to pose as service or utility workers and easily carry out a robbery in broad daylight.
A security system can act as your eyes and ears while you are away from your house during the day. Install a system with a remote monitoring capabilities, so you can both keep an eye on your home during the day, but have the authorities alerted immediately in the event of a break-in.
If possible, set up lights on timers, and even televisions or radios to go on and off at random times during the day. Give the impression that someone is at home as often as you can.
Burglars live close by
Surprisingly, most thieves live within a few miles of the homes that they rob. Because of their proximity, the criminal has the opportunity to check out your neighborhood, and hit places that seem like easy targets.
Vary your routine as much as possible to avoid predictability. Take measures to make your house seems occupied when you are not there; have papers and mail stopped, your yard mowed or snow shoveled, and flyers removed from doorways when you are on vacation.
Demand identification from any service workers entering your home, and report any suspicious behavior to the company for which they work. Never allow someone into your home who asks to use the phone or for other assistance, but instead offer to make the call for them. Make sure that windows, doors and other entry ways are still securely locked after the service person has left the home.
Thieves enter through the front door
An astonishing 30 percent or more of burglars enter their targets through the front entry, either by using a hidden key or simply walking through an unlocked door. Many doors are flimsy, and easy to break open with a well-placed kick or shoulder.
Keep your house locked securely at all times; it can’t be emphasized enough that a solid door with a heavy-duty deadbolt is useless if not used. Do not give out extra keys to service workers, and never hide a key under your mat, in a mailbox, or above your doorjamb. The easier the entry, the more likely you are to be robbed.
Criminals look at social media
It’s a depressing thought, but you do need to consider that not everyone perusing social media is doing so with your best interest at heart. It’s easier than you think to both access your social media pages and look up your address. Although it’s tempting to post while you are out of town on a fabulous vacation, be aware that you are also advertising the fact that your home is sitting empty.
Make sure your house is well-protected while you are gone. Have a neighbor park his or her car in the driveway. Stop the mail and newspaper delivery while you are gone, have your yard mowed/snow plowed and keep lights on timers to give the appearance of regular activity. And save those great pictures and stories to post upon your return.
Crooks are rarely apprehended
Burglaries are one of the most difficult crimes to solve. In 2014, less than 14% of home invasions resulted in arrests, and of those, a lesser percentage still were able to recover their belongings. Most criminals are looking for quick cash which is why small, valuable items like jewelry, electronics, and firearms are the most common items stolen. Most break-ins are completed in about 10 minutes, and the thieves escape undetected.
A monitored home security system with a live video feed can be invaluable in alerting the home owners and authorities that a crime is in progress, and perpetrators are much more likely to be arrested at the scene in homes that implement these systems. Don’t assume that a security system is unaffordable. Many systems can be maintained for a nominal monthly fee, and considering that the average property loss in a home invasion equals about $2,000, it may be worth the cost to protect your home and belongings.
Back to basics
Hearing crime statistics can be frightening; no one likes to think about their loved ones or home being compromised by a home invasion. Aside from the loss of property, feeling like your privacy and sense of well-being have been violated can be devastating effects of burglary. Aside from the aforementioned tips, be sure to consider the following list when creating a checklist for home security:
- Maintain solid doors with deadbolts (and security bars on sliding doors); keep doors and windows locked at all times (even when you are home)
- Get a dog. Security isn’t the only reason to have a dog (it’s a living thing after all), but if it fits in to your family plan, homes with dogs are much less likely to be targeted than those without
- Keep a fireproof safe in your home for valuables and important documents; make sure it can’t be easily removed
- Invest in a monitored home security system with cameras and alarms
- Make sure your property is well-lit all around; consider using motion-sensors
- Keep records of personal property and values
- Secure documents with sensitive information; identity theft is also a real issue. Use a shredder rather than throwing away items containing personal information.
- Participate in neighborhood watch cooperatives. More eyes and ears paying attention will help to deter crime in your community
The good news is that implementing any one of these prevention measures dramatically increases your odds of not being burglarized, and used in tandem, you increase the safety of your family and property by leaps and bounds.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful. If you did then please share it. It may help someone you know prevent a burglary at their home. Please also feel free to get in touch with me by leaving a comment below.