Are there signs that your home is being targeted by burglars?
While nobody wants to dwell on this depressing thought, it’s always better to be prepared and informed.
Many burglars are smarter than you’d think. When looking for potential targets, they do their research. You have probably heard the term “casing a house” to describe how burglars analyze a home’s weaknesses. Most importantly, they want to learn when no one’s at home to catch them in the act.
This article will walk you through how to know if you’re being targeted by burglars and what you can do to prevent it in order to keep both you and your home safe.
Home Burglary Statistics
The more you know about home burglaries, the better you can prepare and protect your home against them.
The statistics of home burglaries are shocking. The FBI has reported that a home break in occurs every 13 seconds in the United States, that’s around 2.5 million per year.
- The most common place an intruder breaks into home is through the front door. About 34% of burglaries occur through the front door of the home. This may seem like a bold move, however, if an intruder has done a good job watching your home and knowing when you are away, the front door is the easiest place to slip into.
- Only 28% of break-ins occur when the homeowner is home, the other 72% occur when you are away. Further proof that burglars watch and target homes to determine when the best time is to make their move.
- Most home break ins occur between the hours of 10am and 3pm and usually only take on average 10 minutes to be accomplished. Thieves like to get in and out quickly to avoid being caught.
- The two most frequent months for break ins are July and August; you are out and about more in the summer and burglars are too! Criminals would rather do their work in the summer when it is warm and when the greenery is full and providing optimal coverage for them to discreetly rummage through your home.
Signs That Your Home is Being Targeted by Burglars
Your best protection against burglars is being informed and knowing what signs to look for that indicate someone may be casing your home. Keep your eyes and ears out for the following:
New Traffic Near Your Home
Whether on foot or in a car, if you notice new or suspicious looking people near your home, it could be a red flag that someone is watching your home.
- If you start to see a particular vehicle parked near your home frequently that you know does not belong to your neighbors or anyone visiting them, this could indicate that someone is watching your home. Use security cameras to track vehicles when you’re away and be on the lookout for patterns.
- Burglars often sit in vehicles with tinted windows to mask their identity. If you notice a car parked near your home for a period of time with no explanation, don’t be shy about calling the police and voicing your concern. Chances are they will be more than happy to swing by and look into it for you.
- The same goes for foot traffic near your house, if you notice a stranger frequently walking near or past your home, they may be scoping your house out in search of weak points.
- When a criminal is casing a home, they may appear to be innocently walking or jogging by, but they will likely linger for a prolonged period near your home to scope it out. If you notice this type of behavior, take note of their appearance for future reference.
- Be sure to get a good look at the individual (or purchase high quality security cameras that can distinguish faces) to have an accurate description to give to the police. Keep in mind that not every new person who walks past your home and casts a glance your way is a potential burglar.
Another way that burglars case homes is to go to the door pretending to be from a legitimate business, local government agency, or having some other reason to connect with you that seems reasonable. This is a way criminal can get a better sense your home, gain information, or perhaps find out if you have a home security system, dog, or anything else that might make getaway more difficult.
If granted access to your home, they can scope out windows, doors, and valuables that would inform them about breaking into your home.
While you may get visitors that legitimately are looking to sell you a product or service, you should always have your guard up when an unsolicited visitor knocks on your door. Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to open your door and interact with a stranger.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is for a criminal to go to a door and feign an emergency. They may tell you that their car broke down and they need to use your phone or that they need a glass of water.
- Criminals know how to pull at your heartstrings to get you to feel sorry for them and help them out. We have a tendency to want to see the best in people; unfortunately, there are people out their looking to take advantage of that.
- Criminals use your kindness and willingness to help them in a time of need to take advantage of you. They may swipe some of your belongings while your back is turned, or they may simply gather intel and come back at a time when you are not home.
- Many burglars will use the opportunity to subtly open up a door or unlock a window while inside so that they can come back and gain easy access to your home.
Taking A Picture and Walking Away
In today’s world of prevalent smartphone use, pretty much everyone has a camera on them. It is now easier than ever for people to snap a quick photo of your home for later research.
If you notice someone taking pictures of your house and then walking away, this could be a red flag. Be vigilant and look for any other suspicious activity, even if it’s occurring at a home further down the street or another block over. Alert your local law enforcement if you perceive a threat; your help could aid them in an ongoing investigation.
Not only is having a bunch of flyers or stickers stuck in your door a nuisance, it can also serve as a way for burglars to mark your home.
Many burglars will stick flyers or stickers on homes that they think are unoccupied to serve as an indicator for their accomplices that the home is unguarded.
In these cases, it is wise to remove any flyers from your home immediately. If you are going to be out of town, ask a friend or neighbor to remove any flyers or newspapers that could be piling up outside your home indicating that you are away.
When it comes to protecting your home against break ins, one of your best defenses is your gut instinct. If you have a strong feeling that something suspicious is happening, follow it and report the suspicious activity.
Not every stranger walking through your neighborhood is a threat, however, if you see someone acting strangely, not making eye contact or engaging in other suspicious behavior around in front of your home, there may be cause for concern.
Stay vigilant when you see this kind of activity, take notes on what the person looks like or take down their license plate number if they are in a vehicle. Report anything suspicious to the police.
Protecting Your Home
The truth is, many people don’t consider taking precautions against robbery because they feel as though they don’t have anything worth stealing.
However, burglars don’t know what is inside your home; they simply seize the opportunity when they realize you’ve neglected to take adequate safety precautions. Everyone should take some basic steps to protect their homes from burglars.
Consider the following tips to help protect your home from break ins:
- Invest in a reliable security system to monitor entryways and make sure that they are visible. Studies show that just the appearance of a security camera can dissuade intruders from trying to break into your home.
- Make sure your home is well lit by installing lighting near every entrance way. Motion detection lights are a great option for garages and doorways.
- Keep your shrubbery trimmed back to avoid unintentionally creating protection for criminals.
- Get to know your neighbors and keep an eye on each others’ houses. If you are friendly with your neighbors, they are more likely to be vigilant about watching your home and reporting anything suspicious to you.
- When you are away from your home, keep your TV or radio on to give the appearance that someone is inside.
- Although it may seem drastic, putting bars on your windows and doors can help to keep intruders at bay.
- Get in the habit of keeping your doors and windows locked. Even if you are just out in the backyard working, make sure that you home is locked up so a burglar can’t gain access when you are not paying attention.
- Don’t flaunt the fact that you are going away on vacation by posting to social media; tell your close friends and family only, not the whole world.
- Stop your mail and newspaper service while you are away or have a friend or neighbor collect them for you. You don’t want your personal mail piling up for someone to go through while you’re away. Identity theft becomes another issue when personal mail is left outside your home.
- Remove any spare keys that you have hidden. Experienced thieves know all the places to look and will easily locate your hidden key.
- Don’t open up your door to strangers. Instead, use a video doorbell to confirm an individual’s identity first.
What to do if You Think Your House is a Target
If you have noticed suspicious activity around your home and feel as though a burglar may be casing your house, follow our steps below.
- Take note of any details involving the suspicious person or people around your home; what they look like, vehicle information, etc.
- Talk to your neighbors to see if they have noticed any suspicious activity and let them know of your concerns.
- Alert local law enforcement of your concerns and provide them with the information that you have gathered so that they are aware and can keep a closer watch on your area.
- If you haven’t already, this would be a good time to invest in a home security system. You can even grab some inexpensive security cameras online that will do the trick without putting much of a dent in your wallet.
- Reinforce entrances and windows with additional locks and security measures.
When it comes to burglaries, there are many things that you can do to be vigilant about potential break ins.
While no one wants to think about protecting their home from potential threats, it is important that you feel safe in your own home and are aware of the warning signs about potential criminal activity.
A successful break-in is traumatizing for homeowners. It is an invasion of your space and sense of safety.
You may feel as though some of the above mentioned steps are a bit extreme or paranoid, however, when it comes to your safety and security, you can never be too prepared.
By following our steps and being vigilant, you can help to ward off burglars and prevent break ins so that you can maintain the safety and security that you feel in your home.