Have you ever wondered why a burglar picks one house to rob rather than another? It is not just bad luck on the homeowner’s part. Chances are the burglar picked that home because he saw something that made the home look like an easy mark. Burglars watch what goes on around neighborhoods before they make their moves.
Want to prevent your home from standing out as an easy mark to a burglar? Here are our top eight tips for improving home security:
1. Build Good Relationships with Your Neighbors
You may not like your neighbors, but you need them if you want to protect your home from burglars. Nosy neighbors are the number one deterrent to burglars, as it means they’ll likely get caught if they break in and start rummaging around your house. So talk to your neighbors, and agree to look out for anything suspicious. That way, when someone strange tries getting into your house in the middle of the day while you’re at work, your neighbors won’t assume it’s business as usual.
2. Don’t Put NRA Stickers on Your Vehicles
Aside from cash, firearms (especially handguns) may be the most valuable items that can be stolen. See, when burglars take other items like jewelry, electronics, and collectibles, they can’t sell them for what they’re really worth on the black market. Guns, however, can’t be obtained legally by criminals, so they’re even more valuable when stolen.
National Rifle Association stickers advertise that you own firearms, and while that may be a deterrent to burglars in the evening when you’re home, it’s a big sign saying “Jackpot” when you’re away on vacation.
3. Get a Dog
Having a dog is a good way to deter a burglar for two reasons:
- The burglar doesn’t know if the dog will attack.
- A barking dog is going to attract neighbors’ attention.
If you don’t want or cannot have a dog in your home, putting up “Beware of Dog” signs may be enough to make a burglar move along to another house.
4. Keep an Outdoor Light on at Night
Burglars want to be as inconspicuous as possible, which is why they hate visibility. They prefer overgrown bushes or tall fences blocking line of sight to windows and doors, so they can enter a home unnoticed. And they hate it when motion-detecting lights alert people to their presence at night. So install some flood-lamps, and expose any ne’er-do-wells that try to approach.
5. Lock Points-of-Entry
Make sure your doors and windows are locked when you aren’t home. If you have a sliding patio door, an old home security tip is to put a 2x4 in its track if you don’t have a security bar. And, just to be safe, don’t leave anything around that the burglar can climb on to reach 2nd or 3rd story windows, which people have a tendency to leave unlocked.
6. Make it Look Like Someone is Home While You’re Away
The majority of break-ins happen when burglars think no one is home, like during the workday or while the family is on vacation. A thief’s primary objective in a burglary is to snag something valuable without being noticed, so they tend to avoid homes that look like someone is home. Now, you can’t be home all the time, but you can make it look like you are.
Programmable lights can be set to go on and off at any time of the day. There are TV light simulators that use very little energy, but replicate the glow of a flatscreen. You can turn on smart speakers to play music, radio, podcasts, etc. Most of these things can be programmed or set on timers, but if not, get a plug with a built in timer so you can set it manually.
7. Make Your Schedule Irregular
While some burglars will pick a house and burglarize it in the same day, quite a few case the neighborhood for a while first. They pay attention to the schedules of people in the neighborhood to identify when people are away from the house. Once they know when your home is empty during the day, they make their move.
If burglars see you leaving and coming home at the same time every day, they will learn your routine. While it’s unlikely you can change your working hours, you may be able to stagger your coming and goings a little, and any unpredictability you can throw into the routine will make burglars wary.
An occasional return home during the day could do the trick, as could having a friend or family member visit the house when no one is home. Even having a neighbor kid mow your lawn when they get home from school can help. Just make the burglar feel like there’s never a time they can guarantee no one will be home.
8. Your Best Bet: Get a Security System
The presence of home security cameras and window sensors is the greatest deterrent to thieves. While seeing signs advertising that you have one, or even seeing the cameras might not spook them, a loud alarm going off when they try to break in likely will. Burglars hate having their presence noticed, and alarms ensure just that. Plus, with cameras in the right places, you’ll have plenty of evidence on hand, whether you’re trying to catch the criminal, or just prove to your insurance that you really were burglarized (and would they kindly pay you to replace what was taken, please).